(Belga) West African leaders meeting in Accra decided on Sunday to close the borders with Mali and put the country under embargo, measures described as “very harsh” sanctioning the junta’s failure to respect the deadline. February for elections bringing civilians back to power.
The heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sitting behind closed doors in the Ghanaian capital have decided to close the borders with Mali within the sub-region. regional and to suspend trade other than basic necessities, says a press release read at the end of the summit. They also decided to cut financial aid and freeze Mali’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). They will recall the ambassadors of member countries to Mali, the scene of two military coups since 2020 and in the grip of a deep security crisis. ECOWAS leaders endorsed the measures taken at a summit of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) immediately preceding theirs, a summit participant said on condition of anonymity, speaking of the measures. “very hard”. The UEMOA countries are all members of ECOWAS. These sanctions are even more rigorous than those adopted after the first putsch in August 2020. In the midst of the pandemic, they had been severely felt in a landlocked country among the poorest in the world. They are believed to have forced the junta at the time to agree to commit to returning power to civilians within 18 months of the elections. The junta says today that it is unable to organize presidential and legislative elections on the date scheduled for the end of February. The authorities invoke the persistent insecurity in the country, plagued by violence of all kinds, jihadist, community, villainous … They affirm the need for prior reforms so that the elections do not suffer from contestation like the previous ones. Recently, the junta asked for up to five years of transition, a delay unacceptable for ECOWAS. Since the first putsch of August 2020, reinforced by that of May 2021 inducting Colonel Assimi Goïta as president of the “transition”, the ECOWAS is pushing for the return of civilians as soon as possible. Sensing West African wrath, the junta dispatched two government ministers to Accra on Saturday to submit a revised timetable. “The Malian counter-proposal is a four-year transition. It’s a joke,” said a senior Ghanaian official, whose country currently holds the presidency of the ECOWAS and who was also speaking under the guise of l ‘anonymity. For the organization whose credibility is at stake, it is a question of defending its fundamental principles of governance, of stopping the contagion of the fait accompli and of containing regional instability. (Belga)