Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - A joint ECOWAS, African Union (AU) and UN delegation arrived in Mali Sunday to warn the country's military junta to desist from meddling in its political process or face sanctions.
The decision to send the delegation was reached at the one-day meeting of the Ministers of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, on Saturday.
The delegation is the second to travel to Mali in as many days, following the visit of three ECOWAS Foreign Affairs Ministers (from Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria) to Bamako on Saturday.
After Saturday's visit, the soldiers who carried out the 22 March coup in the West African nation agreed to allow interim President Dioncounda Traore to remain in charge of the country's transition for the time being.
According to an ECOWAS Commission statement on Sunday, the joint delegation dispatched by the MSC is one of the proposed measures to address the political developments in Mali.
The Framework Agreement signed on 6 April 2012 by the junta, with the facilitation of the ECOWAS Mediator, led to the handover of power to the former Speaker of Parliament as Interim President, the appointment of a Prime Minister and a 12 month transition programme that will culminate in the election of a President for the country.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the counterparts for Defence who attended Saturday's meetings also warned the leader of the junta, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, to refrain from making public pronouncements, including statements to the media which imply he is still in control, warning that failure to comply with these decisions would result in the reinstatement of targeted sanctions against members of the junta and their associates.
The sanctions were originally imposed by regional leaders at their emergency summit of 29 March, in response to the coup but were lifted after the 6 April 2012 Agreement under which the junta consented to the transition arrangement and agreed to return to the barracks.
The comprehensive sanctions to be imposed include political, economic and financial, including the suspension of Mali's membership of ECOWAS, the recall of ECOWAS Ambassadors from the country, travel ban on members of the CNRDRE and their associates, and the closure of the country's borders and air space with ECOWAS Member States except for humanitarian purposes.
On the economic side, the sanctions involve the freeze of the assets of the leaders of the CNRDRE and their associates, denying the country access to the seaports of ECOWAS Member States.
Among the financial sanctions to be imposed is the freezing of the country's accounts with the Central Bank of West Africa (BCEAO) while private banks will be prevented from procuring funds from the bank for the benefit of the Government. All financial assistance to Mali through the West African Bank for Development (BOAD) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) would also be frozen.
On Guinea-Bissau, the MSC endorsed the on-going transitional process and demanded the immediate reconvening of the National Assembly to extend its mandate and elect a new Speaker.
The Council also demanded the establishment of the remaining organs of the transition, including a broad-based Government of National Unity which will define urgent task to be undertaken with timelines.
The Ministers also urged member states that have pledged troops to the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) to expedite action towards the full deployment of the 629-strong mixed force.
It requested immediate financial assistance to the country to meet contingencies while the ECOWAS Commission was directed to revive the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau.
-0- PANA SEG 20May2012