As of February 2017, ECOWAS has 15 Member States; Eight of them are Francophone, five Anglophones and two are Portuguese-speaking. All the present members joined the Community in May 1975 as founding members, with the exception of Cape Verde, which joined in 1977.   The only former ECOWAS member is Arabic-speaking Mauritania, which was also one of the founding members in 1975 and decided to withdraw in December 2000.  Mauritania recently signed a new associated accession agreement in August 2017.  In 1990, ECOWAS states signed a non-aggression protocol at the same time as two earlier agreements in 1978 and 1981. In addition, on 29 May 1981 they signed in Freetown (Sierra Leone) a protocol on mutual assistance for defence, which provides for the creation of a military force allied with the Community. The organizations also agreed on common rules of origin to promote trade and ECOWAS agreed to take over WAEMU customs declaration forms and compensation mechanisms.  For the third time since its creation in 1975, ECOWAS is in the process of institutional reforms. .