ECOWAS says it has upheld the initial restriction imposed on Mali after the country’s failure to return to constitutional order. The Authority has also decided to impose additional economic and financial sanction on the West African country in conformity with its deliberation at the 60th Ordinary Session held in Abuja last year December.
This was contained in a communique read by the President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, after an extraordinary session held in Accra yesterday.
The sanctions, according to the ECOWAS President, include the withdrawal of Ambassadors of all ECOWAS member states in Mali and the closure of land and air borders between member countries and Mali.
“Third, suspension of all commercial and financial transaction between ECCOWAS member states and Mali with the exception of the following, including essential food products, pharmaceutical products, medical supply and equipment including material for the control of Covid-19, petroleum products and electricity,” he said.
The rest of the sanctions include the freezing of assets of Mali in ECOWAS central banks and the freeze of Malian assets and state enterprises in all ECOWAS commercial banks.
The final sanction is Mali’s suspension from all financial assistance from all financial institutions in ECOWAS region.
The Authority asked all member countries to ensure that the sanctions are implemented to the letter to have immediate effect with the assurance that the sanctions would be gradually lifted until an acceptable transitional progress is made with regards to elections.
Future of Mali
The Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had earlier lauded his counterparts for their “continuous solidarity and commitment in responding to critical and urgent situations in the region.”
He said it was his “expectation that we will take appropriate decisions that will advance the future of Mali and this region at large.”
“Excellencies, you will recall that during our last ordinary summit, which took place on the 12th December 2021, in Abuja, capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we reiterated our strong concerns of the transition processes in Mali and advised the transition authorities in Mali to respect the date of 27th February 2022 for holding elections,” President Akufo Addo said.
He further indicted that ECOWAS, at the meeting, also indicated its intention to review, by December 31, 2021, the state of preparation by the Malian Transitional Authority towards compliance with the agreed February deadline for the conclusion of the Malian transition and restoration of democratic rule.
President Akufo-Addo said ECOWAS made it clear that if it was not satisfied with the state of progress by the Authorities, additional sanctions would be imposed on Mali.
Ministerial delegation from Mali
President Akufo-Addo disclosed that he had received a delegation from Mali, led by its Foreign Minister, on December 31, last year, with a communication on plans made so far for the transition.
“I was informed that the four-day re-foundation conference initiated by the transitional authority recommended that elections be held within a period of six moths to five years to restore democracy in the country,” President Akufo-Addo said.
According to him, the official proposal he received from the transitional authority indicated that the transitional period should run for five years.
The President said he subsequently received a letter dated January 7, 2022, in which the head of the Malian Transitional team stated that the period had now been modified to four years.
To this end, the President said the meeting was to review if the decision by the transitional authority conformed to the agreement reached in September 15, last year, by ECOWAS and more importantly if it conformed to the Community’s principles.
“It is my expectation that we will take the appropriate decision that will advance the future of Mali and our Community. National, regional and international stakeholders are all awaiting the results of our meeting. I will therefore hope that the outcome of our deliberations will contribute to the promoting of our democracy and consolidating peace and security in Mali and our region,” he said.