ECOWAS slams harder sanctions on Malian junta
The African sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS, has slammed additional sanctions on the Malian junta, withdraw all ECOWAS ambassadors in the country, and also close land and air borders between ECOWAS member states and Mali.
Other sanctions imposed on the junta are the 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 products, and electricity.
Another is the freezing of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks; freezing 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 financial institutions.
Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president, stated this in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday, where the regional body held an extra-ordinary summit.
Onsibajo, who represented Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, said the regional leaders opposed coup d’états in the sub-region.
“What is being done is unprecedented. In the years gone by, the African Union, then known as OAU and ECOWAS, never came down heavily on coups de’tats; but there is evidence now that there is a very strong resolve that ECOWAS and, indeed, AU and the international community will not accept unconstitutional take over of government”, said Osinbajo.
“it’s very evident that there is very strong resolve, which is why we are here today. We expect that the actions that will be taken will point the junta in Mali in the right direction.”
“I think ECOWAS has shown that it has not lost its bite where there are concerns about issues of good governance and democratic enterprises in the sub-region, which is why sanctions against Guinea and Mali were imposed.”
The African leaders also rejected the transition schedule the Malina junta proposed, describing it as “totally unacceptable”.
ECOWAS said the sanctions would be lifted gradually, “after an acceptable and agreed transition chronogram is finalised and monitored-satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections.”
Regarding Guinea, ECOWAS noted that it remained concerned about the slow progress of the transition process four months after the coup.
According to the Communique issued at the end of the meeting, “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 that a mission be fielded to Conakry to discuss the transition.”
Other leaders present at the summit were Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal; George Weah of Liberia; Patrice Talon of Benin Republic; Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso, and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Other Heads of State present include Umaro Embalò of the Republic of Guinea Bissau; Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic; Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and the Vice President of The Gambia, Isatou Touray.
The session was also attended by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the ECOWAS Mediator for Mali; the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; among other representatives of international organisations.