African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said Friday the bloc will meet to discuss whether to lift the suspension of junta-ruled Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

All three nations have been suspended from the pan-African bloc as well as the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), after undergoing military coups since 2020, and cannot participate in this weekend's summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

"This issue has not yet been discussed, there will be a meeting of the Peace and Security Council that will examine these requests, so there is no decision yet in this sense," Faki told AFP without specifying a timeframe.

The diplomats of the West African countries began lobbying to reinstate their countries to the 55-member bloc, and met on Thursday with Comoran Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, whose country will hold the AU's rotating presidency.

The three foreign ministers had announced their joint diplomatic campaign last week in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou.

Mali's Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop also held meetings with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and his Rwandan and Algerian counterparts.

The Malian foreign ministry said the joint delegation would continue their consultations with Faki, Comoran President Azali Assoumani, a senior ECOWAS official and other foreign ministers.

It added that the suspensions hindered regional and international support for the transitions back to civilian rule under way in the three Sahel nations.

The two-day AU summit opening Saturday aims to accelerate the implementation of a free trade area on the continent.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), billed as the biggest free trade accord in the world in terms of population, aims to boost intra-African trade by 60 percent by 2034 by eliminating almost all tariffs.