The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) was established in May 1975 as an organisation to promote the development of the sub-region, and for 15 years did not deviate from this mandate. The 16 member-states – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo – restricted their interactions to purely economic matters and ran shy of political issues confronting West Africa. This tradition changed in 1990 when Ecowas decided to intervene in the civil war which had broken out in Liberia. Its strategy to resolve the conflict followed two parallel but mutually interactive channels — making and enforcing peace. The former involved negotiations and arbitration; the latter the deployment in August 1990 of a 3,000 strong multinational force to supervise a cease-fire.