Panafrican News Agency

Demonstrators call for Mali's outright withdrawal from ECOWAS

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - Hundreds of people demonstrated on Friday in Bamako, the Malian capital, and in Kayes, in the west of the country, to demand the outright withdrawal of Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the creation of a national currency.

At the end of their rally at the Place de l'Indépendance in Bamako the organisers, who were from associations, trade unions, and civil society groups, submitted their petition to the transition authorities, which included the immediate cessation of ECOWAS missions to Mali, and the outright withdrawal of the country from the sub-regional organisation.

ECOWAS has imposed stiff sanctions on Mali, including border closures and economic and financial punishment, after the military junta failed to return the country to constitutional rule by the end of last February.

They also demanded the creation of a national currency, which will be a symbol of sovereignty, the closure and nationalisation of all French companies, the non-renewal of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) and the revision of the Algiers Agreement.

This Agreement, signed in May-June 2015 between the Malian government, the armed groups of the northern and the international community, aims to bring definitive peace to Mali after a series of Tuareg rebellions exacerbated in recent years by deadly jihadist attacks.

The peace and reconciliation agreement resulting from the Algiers process is struggling to be implemented due to a number of constraints.

The demonstrators reaffirmed their unwavering support for the recommendations of the national conference on re-foundation regarding the duration of the transition, for which they proposed a maximum duration of five years.

The military junta has scaled down its proposal of the transition to 24 months, in addition to the 18 months earlier demanded by ECOWAS leaders.

This has been rejected by the ECOWAS leaders who met in Accra last month. The leaders have asked for a 12-16 months transition period in addition to the 18 months.

-0- PANA GT/JSG/MTA/MA 3April2022