Colonel Assimi Goïta, head of state and interim president of Mali, came to power in August 2020 following a military-led coup.
Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), sitting behind closed doors in the Ghanaian capital, reacted vigorously to the Malian state’s plan to postpone the elections until 2026. These were originally scheduled for February 27 this year.
TheECOWAS has decided to close the borders with Mali and to suspend trade other than basic necessities, read a press release.
It also decided to cancel its financial aid and freeze Mali’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).
Member countries will repatriate their ambassadors to Mali, the scene of two military coups since 2020 and in the grip of a deep humanitarian crisis.
Disciplinary measures until further notice
These sanctions take effect immediately, they said. They will not be gradually lifted until the Malian authorities present a timetable.
acceptable and that satisfactory progress will be observed in its implementation.
The proposal of the Malian junta to organize the presidential election in December 2026 is
totally unacceptable, estimate the ECOWAS. She
simply means that an illegitimate transitional military government will take the Malian people hostage over the next five years.
These sanctions are even more rigorous than those adopted after the first coup d’état in August 2020. In the midst of the pandemic, they were severely felt in a landlocked country among the poorest in the world.
The junta says today that it is unable to organize presidential and legislative elections as planned at the end of February, citing persistent insecurity in the country, plagued by jihadist violence. It underlines the need for preliminary reforms so that the elections do not suffer from contestation, like the previous ones.
TheECOWAS calls for the return of civilians to power as quickly as possible.
Postponing elections is a
Sensing West African wrath, the junta sent two ministers from its government to Accra on Saturday to submit a revised timetable.
The new offer was presented in order to maintain
dialogue and good cooperation with the ECOWAS, said on national television on Saturday one of the two emissaries, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop, without specifying the content.
The Malian counter-proposal is a four-year transition. It’s a jokesaid a senior Ghanaian official on condition of anonymity, whose country currently holds the presidency of the ECOWAS.
For the organization, whose credibility is at stake, it is a question of defending its fundamental principles of governance and of containing regional instability.
Measurement of the importance of the stakes for theECOWAS As for the country at the heart of Sahelian instability, it was the eighth time that West African leaders met, together or in videoconference, to talk specifically about Mali (with Guinea after another putsch in September 2021) since August 2020, not counting regular summits.
TheECOWAS had already suspended Mali from its decision-making bodies and imposed a freeze on their financial assets and a travel ban on 150 personalities, whom it accuses of obstructing the elections. These sanctions remain in force to this day.
At a summit on December 12, she brandished the threat of sanctions
economic and financial additional. But the situation called for delicate decisions on her part, exposing her to the risk of pointing the Malians against her, analysts say.