ECOWAS institutes new sanctions against Mali for failure to hold elections

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has maintained the existing sanctions it imposed on Mali, for failure by the transitional authorities to oversee a smooth political transition.

At an Extraordinary Session in Accra on Sunday, the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West Africa States, expressed disappointment in the country’s failure to meet the proposed timelines for the conduct of fresh elections.

In a Communique issued after the meeting, ECOWAS agreed to uphold all existing sanctions against Mali and added new ones.

“In view of the above, the Authority upholds the sanctions already imposed on Mali and on the transition authorities. The Authority has also decided to impose additional economic and financial sanctions, in conformity with its deliberations at the Sixtieth Ordinary Session held on 12 December 2021 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

These additional sanctions include: 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 the following products: essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19; petroleum products and electricity; Freeze of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks; Freeze of assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks; Suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from all financial institutions”, the Communique said.

Present at the Summit were fifteen ECOWAS Heads of State, government representatives and other designated participants. They included the President of Ghana and the Chairperson of ECOWAS, Akufo-Addo; former President of Nigeria and Mediator for Mali, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan; Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mahamat Saleh Annadif; Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security representing the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Bankole Adeoye, amongst others.

The meeting by the regional leaders also discussed the current political situation in Guinea and agreed that, “the Authority remains concerned about the slow progress of the transition process, four months after the coup. The Authority regrets the absence of chronogram for the election and the non-setting up of the National Council of Transition (CNT). It also directs a mission be fielded to Conakry to discuss the transition process with the transition authorities”.

It would be recalled that Guinea was thrown into political unrest in May, 2021. Before then Mali experienced a coup d’état in August, 2020. Following these developments, ECOWAS convened a series of meetings to restore political stability in the two nations.

Sunday’s meeting in Accra was to review earlier measures which had been proposed by ECOWAS to restore peace and sanity in the two countries.

At the close of proceedings, the Heads of State and Governments expressed their gratitude to the President of Ghana and the Chair of ECOWAS, Akufo-Addo.