– ECOWAS is putting pressure on Mali, Guinea and Burkina
ECOWAS on Friday maintained sanctions against the military junta in Mali while threatening Guinea and Burkina with new sanctions.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday maintained pressure on the ruling junta in Mali, where sanctions remain in place, and in Guinea and Burkina Faso threatened new sanctions. ECOWAS “calls on the transitional authorities (in Mali) to adhere to the recommended 12 to 16 month transitional period” during the transition before civilians return to power.
It maintains the heavy economic sanctions imposed on the country on 9 January 2022, when the junta announced that it intended to remain at the helm of the country for several years, and announced that it would not organize elections at the end of February as originally planned. In January, ECOWAS had ordered the closure of Mali’s borders within the subregional space and the suspension of trade other than basic necessities.
In addition, the West African organization on Friday decided to sanction Guinea if it did not present an “acceptable timetable for the transition” before the end of April 2022, and Burkina Faso if it did not release former President Roch Marc. Christian Kaboré by March 31, 2022, according to the latest communiqué from the meeting of ECOWAS heads of state.
The organization specifies that in case of non-compliance with its requirements, it will impose sanctions on the members of the Government and the National Transitional Council (CNT). Burkina Faso authorities will also receive “individual sanctions” if they do not comply.
In September, shortly after the Guinea coup and the dismissal of President Alpha Condé, ECOWAS had already decided to freeze the financial assets of members of the junta and their family members. Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, countries plagued by political but also security crises for the first two, all three have been the scene of military coups since August 2020. Mali has even experienced two putschs.
ECOWAS is pressuring ruling junta to quickly return power to civilians. It suspended the three countries from its agencies. The sanctions in Mali have been upheld despite a ruling issued on Thursday by the Court of West African Economic and Monetary Union (UMEOA) demanding suspension of the sanctions.
They are also maintained despite the fact that Ramadan was approaching and the hope of a gesture of reconciliation that would have affected trade and prices on the threshold of a period of increased consumption. The UEMOA decision represented a rare success for the junta. The potential impact of these sanctions on a poor, inland country country has sparked deep concern, but also widespread outrage, beyond Mali, against regional organizations.
New meeting in Accra
West African leaders met again on Friday in Accra, a week after the failure of an agreement with the Malian junta on a timetable for the return of civilians to power in this country, plunged for 10 years into a deep security crisis and politics. ECOWAS mediator in the Malian crisis, Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, left Bamako empty-handed.
To date, ECOWAS has requested elections to be held within 12 to 16 months in Mali. During Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to the Malian capital from March 18 to 20, the junta said it had reduced the time the junta deemed necessary to lead the country from four to two years before giving power back to civilians. .
For Guinea, where the military took power in September 2021, ECOWAS expressed “serious concerns” over the length of the transition, noting that “the six-month timetable for elections was not ‘not respected’. For Burkina Faso, ECOWAS again condemned the coup in January 2022.
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