West African leaders lift economic sanctions on Mali | Politics News

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gathered to evaluate efforts to secure a timetable for the restoration of civilian rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have lifted economic and financial sanctions against Mali, after the country’s military rulers proposed a transition to a regime democracy in 24 months and announced a new electoral law.

Imposing block tough sanctions against Mali in January after the military government said it would not hold democratic elections next month as originally planned.

ECOWAS Committee Chairman Jean Claude Kassi Brou told a news conference on Sunday that the sanctions would be lifted immediately. The border with Mali will reopen and regional diplomats will return to Bamako.

“However, the heads of state decided to maintain individual sanctions and suspend Mali from ECOWAS, until a return to constitutional principles,” Kassi Brou said.

Individual sanctions target members of the ruling military government and the transitional council.

Sanctions have crippled Mali’s economy, raising humanitarian concerns amid widespread suffering. The country defaulted on more than $300 million in debt as a result of the sanctions, cutting it off from regional financial markets and regional central banks.

ECOWAS’s mediator in Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, visited the country last week. A member of his entourage told AFP news agency that Mali had made “enormous progress”.

On Friday, Mali’s top diplomat, Abdoulaye Diop, said recent political developments were leading the country towards lifting sanctions.

Transition Burkina Faso and Guinea

ECOWAS leaders gathered to evaluate efforts to secure timetables and other guarantees for restore the civil regime in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

Mali experienced coups in August 2020 and May 2021, followed by Guinea in September 2021 and Burkina Faso in January this year.

West African leaders meeting in Accra also accepted a commitment from the military that take power in Burkina Faso to restore constitutional order in 24 months.

Kassi Brou said that after lengthy discussions with coup leaders in Burkina Faso, a new proposal for a 24-month transition was more acceptable, after being rejected by heads of state. proposed 36-month transition.

Economic and financial sanctions against Burkina Faso have also been lifted, he said.

The situation looked more complicated in Guinea, where the military government refused the ECOWAS mediator and announced a 36-month deadline. forward – a period that African Union President and Senegalese President Macky Sall have described as “unthinkable”.

ECOWAS leaders rejected a three-year transition. They told Guinea’s military to propose a new timeline by the end of July or face economic sanctions.

The heads of state appointed Benin’s former President Boni Yayi as the new mediator and urged the Guinean military junta to work with him and quickly propose a new timetable.

“In addition, economic sanctions will be imposed,” Kassi Brou said.

The political upheaval comes as many observers begin to think that military power struggles are a thing of the past in West Africa, an increasingly acrimonious region also facing growing danger from foreign powers. armed group.

Several leaders spoke at Accra’s day-long summit calling for action as armed groups expand their footprints in the region.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “These terrorist attacks are now not only focused on the Sahel but also extend to the coastal states of our region.” “It is imperative that we continue to implement the regional action plan against terrorism and coordinate our various security initiatives.”

According to Kassi Brou, in the first half of 2022, the region recorded a total of 3,500 deaths as a result of 1,600 attacks targeting countries including Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

In Burkina Faso, where attacks by armed groups are soaring, gunmen killed at least 55 people in the country’s northern Seno province last month.

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