ECOWAS Tighten Noose On Mali

Ecowas members

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed heftier sanctions on the military leaders in Mali.

It follows their intransigence in following the roadmap for a possible return to civilian rule with their resolve to hand over power in 2026.

At an extraordinary summit in Accra yesterday, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS led by President Akufo-Addo therefore decided to uphold the initial sanctions related to economics and finance imposed on Mali and the transition authorities.

The imposition of additional economic and financial sanctions is in conformity with its deliberations at the Sixtieth Ordinary Session held on December 12, 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The latest sanctions include a withdrawal of all ECOWAS Ambassadors in Mali, closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali, suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, with the exception of essential consumer goods, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19, petroleum products and electricity.

It has also resolved to freeze assets of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks, assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises as well as parastatal entities in Commercial Banks, and suspended Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from all financial institutions.

The Authority has instructed all Community Institutions to take steps to implement these sanctions with immediate effect.

They have resolved to gradually lift the sanctions “only after an acceptable and agreed chronogram is finalised and monitored satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections.”

These sanctions have been put in place to facilitate the process of a return to constitutional order in Mali necessary for peace, stability and growth.

The sanctions have also been designed to protect the Malian population.

In view of the potentially destabilising impact on Mali and on the region, created by the transition in Mali, the Authority has also decided to activate immediately the ECOWAS Standby Force, which will be ready for any eventuality.

It has since called on the African Union, the United Nations and other partners to support the process for the enforcement of these sanctions and continue to provide support for an acceptable political transition.

It has also invited neighbouring countries of Mali, which are not members of ECOWAS to support the implementation of the sanctions.

ECOWAS has decided to field a mission to these neighbouring countries led by the Chairperson of Council.

Despite the denial by the Malian Transition Government, the Authority said it remains deeply concerned by consistent report on deployment of private security agents in Mali with its potentially destabilising impact on the West Africa Region.

This situation, they said, was closely related to the stalled political transition in the country.

Regarding Guinea, the Authority said it remains concerned about the slow progress of the transition process four months after the coup.

It expressed regret about the absence of chronogram for the election and the non-setting up of the National Council of Transition (CNT).

It has also directed a mission be fielded to Conakry to discuss the transition process with the transition authorities.

Concerning the institutional reform, the Authority has instructed the President of the Commission to take all necessary measures for the new statutory appointees to take office on July 1, 2022 at the end of the tenure of the current management.

This implies the finalisation of the allocation of remaining statutory positions and the launch of the recruitment process.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent