Sunday, December 5, 2021

ECOWAS tough stance on Mali, Guinea

The West African regional grouping ECOWAS on Sunday toughened its stance against military-ruled Mali and Guinea, imposing new personal sanctions and calling on both countries to respect the timetable for a return to democracy.

The Economic Community of West African States has “decided to approve all those involved in the delay” in holding the elections in Mali on 27 February, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Cassi Brau, a summit of the 15-nation grouping told AFP after the conference. Accra, the capital of Ghana.

He said Mali “officially wrote” to Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who holds the rotating presidency of ECOWAS, to inform him that the Sahel country may not hold elections as planned.

“All transition authorities are concerned with the restrictions that will come into force with immediate effect,” Brau said, adding that they include travel restrictions and asset freezes.

In a final announcement after Sunday’s summit, ECOWAS said it “extremely regrets the lack of progress” towards holding elections in Mali.

As for Guinea, where troops seized power on 5 September, ECOWAS decided to maintain the suspension of the country from the bloc as well as sanctions against individual junta members and their families.

It reiterated its demand for the “unconditional release” of 83-year-old President Alpha Condé, who has been under house arrest since his ouster.

In the final declaration, it praised the adoption of a “transition charter”, the appointment of a civilian prime minister, and the formation of a transitional government.

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But it called on officials to “immediately submit a detailed timetable toward holding elections” in the country of 13 million people.

Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, who overthrew Condé after months of discontent against his government, promised to restore civilian rule after a transition period of unspecified length.

At a September summit, ECOWAS demanded that Guinea hold elections within six months.

Regional leaders also demanded that the Malian people “strictly” follow that country’s transition timetable.

ECOWAS revoked economic sanctions against Mali and its suspension from the organization after the junta, headed by Colonel Asimi Goita, promised a transition of no more than 18 months.

But Goita launched a new coup in May, ousting transitional President Bah Nadav and his prime minister, Moctor Oué.

ECOWAS once again suspended Mali, but did not impose new sanctions.

Mali’s Swat, a sprawling nation of 19 million people, is out of government control in the wake of a jihadist insurgency that erupted in the north in 2012, before spreading through the center of the country as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Brau noted that the deployment of Russian paramilitary group Wagner’s contractors in Mali was “one of the concerns of the heads of state.”

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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