Panafrican News Agency

ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Mali

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali with effect.

The outgoing president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, told reporters in Accra on Sunday after the 61st ordinary session that all sanctions imposed last January after disagreement over a transition timetable following its coup in August 2020 "have been lifted effective as of today (Sunday)".

The heads of state took several decisions on the socio-political situations on Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, which were postponed during the last meeting in Accra last month, Mr Brou said.

He said Mali's borders with ECOWAS countries would reopen and Ambassadors who were withdrawn as part of the sanctions would return to their posts. 

However, Malii is still suspended from all activities of the ECOWAS bloc and sanctions against individuals would remain.

These decisons were taken after the ECOWAS mediator for Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, briefed the heads of state on his talks with the transition authorities.

Mr. Brou said the heads of state were informed that Mali had taken steps to establish an electoral code, a monitoring mechanism as well as steps for a new constitution, which would lead to elections in March 2024.

The West African leaders appealed to bilateral and multilateral partners to help Mali prepare for a return to constitutional rule.

On Burkina Faso, the heads of state were briefed by the mediator, Mahamadou Issoufou, former Niger president.

Mr Brou said the heads of state were informed that the transition authorities had agreed to free the ousted president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, and this "encouraging step" had been concretised in a communique issued by the government.

He said the ECOWAS heads of state also noted that authorities had reduced the transition timetable from 36 months to 24 months from 1 July.

The heads of state decided to maintain the suspension of the country from ECOWAS but removed the economic and financial sanctions imposed on 25 March.

They appealed to international partners to support Burkina Faso which has been faced with serious humanitarian challenges and terrorist attacks.

On Guinea, Mr Brou said the ECOWAS-appointed mediator, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, had withdrawn his nomination.

In his stead, the heads of state have named former Benin president, Thomas Yayi Boni, as the new mediator.

His immediate task would be to meet the Guinean transition authorities on the 36 months transition period being demanded while its suspension from the bloc remains.

They have up to the end of July to propose an acceptable timetable else economic and financial sanctions will be imposed.

The ECOWAS heads of state elected Guinea Bissau president Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the new ECOWAS chairman to take over from Ghana's presdent Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

-0- PANA MA 3July2022