The head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, signed a decree to this effect read on state television and stipulating that
the duration of the transition is set at 24 months, [à] as of March 26, 2022.
This announcement comes two days after a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which on January 9 imposed severe commercial and financial retaliation measures on Mali to force the junta to present a calendar
acceptable return of civilians to power.
The colonels who took over by force in August 2020 the leadership of this country plunged since 2012 into a deep security, political and humanitarian crisis have withdrawn from their initial commitment to give way to civilians after elections scheduled last February.
At the beginning of the year, they even planned to govern for up to five more years. Before the ECOWAS summit, while the sanctions accentuate the crisis in this poor and landlocked country, they had reduced their claims to 24 months, without formalizing them as they did on Monday.
So far, ECOWAS has consented to a maximum of 16 months.
Towards a lifting of sanctions?
With the approach of the summit on Saturday, the continuation of the dialogue between ECOWAS and the junta had raised in Mali some hope in the lifting of the sanctions.
West African leaders have in fact maintained them while keeping the door open to their lifting.
Divided over what to do next, they deferred any decision to a new high on July 3. But they decided to
continue the dialogue in order to reach an agreement allowing a gradual lifting of the sanctions as the stages of the transition are completed.
The effect of Monday’s decree on discussions with ECOWAS remains to be seen. In July, there will be 20 and a half months left until the set deadline of March 2024.