The 36th ordinary session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government has decided to maintain the suspensions of Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan from the continental body.
The four countries have been under military rule following coups between 2020 and 2022.
Following the ECOWAS recommendation to the AU, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea were suspended.
Sudan followed, as was called for under the continental body's constitutive act, following a coup by the army two years ago.
Ahead of the summit, military leaders in the respective countries had launched lobby campaigns to have the suspensions lifted, citing alleged progress in transitioning to or returning to democracy.
However, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security Bankole Adeoye says the decision by the summit to maintain the suspension is to send a message that the continental body will not tolerate any unconstitutional and undemocratic change of governments in member states.
Namibia's Deputy Executive Director for Multilateral Relations and Cooperation told nbc News that the AU wants real change and not just window dressing by the military junta in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.
According to Jerobeam Shaanika, the AU will only evaluate progress if these countries meet requirements such as holding free and fair elections, agreeing on realistic transitional periods, and other democratic processes.