The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed sanctions on Mali and activated its standby military force in response to the transitional government’s failure to organize elections. The transitional government has condemned the sanctions and imposed counter-measures of its own.
In a statement issued on 9 January, ECOWAS heads of state said that Mali’s transitional government has not complied with an agreement reached in September. In the agreement, ECOWAS and the Malian government mapped out a return to civilian rule based on the country’s own Transition Charter. The coup in May was the second in two years for Mali.
Below is what the statement says;
“[ECOWAS] deeply deplores the obvious and blatant lack of political will from the Transition authorities that led to the absence of any tangible progress in the preparations for the elections, despite the willingness of ECOWAS and all regional and international partners to support Mali in this process.”
In response to the coup, the West African grouping decided to maintain existing sanctions and impose new ones with immediate effect with the below;
- Immediate recall of ECOWAS ambassadors from Mali.
- Closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali.
- Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions with Mali except for food, pharmaceutical and medical products, petroleum products and electricity.
- The freezing of Mali’s assets in ECOWAS central banks and commercial banks and suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and Banque Ouest-Africaine de Développement (BOAD).
However, the US has endorsed ECOWAS sanctions Mali with the below words;
“We share ECOWAS’s deep disappointment with the transition government of Mali’s lack of action or progress toward organizing elections, as it committed to do following the August 2020 coup d’état. We support ECOWAS’s decision to impose additional economic and financial sanctions to urge the transition government to keep its pledge to the Malian people to return their country to democracy.”