Member states representing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have imposed fresh sanctions on Mali, following the political crisis that has engulfed the country.
Among the latest sanctions to be implemented against the country, 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 products, and electricity
Other punitive measures against the military junta involves freezing of assets of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks; freezing assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks, as well as suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from financial institutions.
All these came to the fore as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, represented his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari at the Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, which held in Accra, Ghana on Sunday.
According to the VP, ECOWAS has resolved never to accept Coups de’tats; or unconstitutional take over of government of any member country.
He said, “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 Extraordinary Summit, also rejected the transition schedule proposed by the Malian military junta, insisting that “the proposed chronogram for a transition is totally unacceptable”.
A Communique to that effect, which got access to, disclosed that the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has instructed all Community institutions to take steps to implement these sanctions with immediate effect.
The communique also noted that the sanctions will only be gradually lifted after an acceptable and agreed transition chronogram is finalised and monitored-satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections.
Meanwhile, on the crisis in Guinea, ECOWAS noted that it remained concerned about the slow progress of the transition process four months after the coup.
According to the Communique, the leaders regreted the absence of chronogram for the election and the non-setting up of the National Council of Transition (CNT).
As a follow up to this, it directed that a mission be dispatched to Conakry to discuss the transition.
While declaring the Summit open, Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, lauded commitment of West African leaders to the growth of the sub-region.
President Akufo-Addo said, “as you did through the entire year of 2021, you continue to demonstrate your commitment to responding to urgent and critical evolving situations in the region.
“This is the 6th Extraordinary Summit since I assumed the chair of the Authority that Your Excellencies have participated in concerning the vexed issues of Mali and Guinea. It is a strong testimony to your leadership and concern to the progress of ECOWAS.”
Aside from Vice President Osinbajo and the Ghanaian President, who presided at the Summit, other West African 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.