New interim Malian President, Colonel Assimi Goita (left), salutes members of the Malian Armed Forces after his swearing in ceremony in Bamako on June 7, 2021. (ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP)
ACCRA – The leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday here announced a flurry of harsher sanctions on Mali.
Leaders of ECOWAS gathered in an extraordinary summit to deliberate on the situation in Mali. In the communique after the summit, the regional body said the proposed timetable by the Malian transitional authorities which set the duration of the transition for a total of five and a half years is "totally unacceptable."
The sanctions specifically excluded the supply of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, including materials needed for the control of COVID-19, petroleum products, and electricity
The communique said all ECOWAS member states would immediately withdraw their ambassadors from Mali.
"The other sanctions include the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali, the suspension of all financial and economic transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali, with the exception of essential consumer goods," said the communique.
The sanctions specifically excluded the supply of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, including materials needed for the control of COVID-19, petroleum products, and electricity.
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ECOWAS instructed the freeze of all assets of Mali in the ECOWAS central bank, a freeze of assets of the Malian state, state enterprises, and parastatals in commercial banks, and the suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from all financial institutions.
The ECOWAS authority instructed all community institutions to take steps to implement the sanctions with immediate effect.
"The sanctions will be gradually lifted only after an acceptable and agreed chronogram is finalized and monitored satisfactory progress is realized in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections," the communique added.
ECOWAS explained that the sanctions were necessary to facilitate the process of the return to constitutional rule in Mali, which is necessary for peace, stability, and growth as well as to protect the populations.
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Last November, ECOWAS imposed sanctions on the Malian transitional authorities in response to their claim of inability to meet the transition deadline of February 2022 for holding elections, including a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets.