Panafrican News Agency

US says it is 'encouraged' by outcome of ECOWAS summit on Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea

Washington, DC, US (PANA) - The United States says it is "encouraged" by the outcomes of last Sunday's summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea that dealt with transitional periods to return the respective countries to constitutional rule.

It said in a statement issued by Mr. Ned Price, Spokesperson for the State Department, that the US welcomed the agreement between regional bloc and Mali on a 24-month transition timeline starting in March 2022. 

"We trust the transition government of Mali will turn its full attention to implementing the benchmarks of the remainder of the transition as expected by the Malian people and the international community," the statement said. 

The US said it remains concerned by reports of allegations of human rights abuses and violations committed by the Malian Armed Forces alongside unaccountable international partners.

On Burkina Faso, the statement said the US is encouraged by the transition government’s proposal to ECOWAS for a two-year transition timeline to return the country to democratically elected, civilian-led governance. 

It said ECOWAS would continue to play an important role in support of transition processes and security and urged partners to "prioritise productive engagement" with the transition government and to take into account Burkina Faso’s security and humanitarian challenges. 

The US said it welcomes the release of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and looks forward to hearing from Burkina Faso’s authorities on the next steps towards a transition.

On Guinea, the US said it continues to urge the transition government to "move the country quickly" toward a constitutional, civilian-led democracy through a transparent and consultative process. 

"We welcome ECOWAS’s continued engagement in Guinea and encourage further cooperation and dialogue with all stakeholders."

The US also urged all stakeholders to work together to agree on a transition timeline "with concrete, measurable benchmarks" that facilitates progress towards democratic rule. 

The US said it also welcomes steps towards increased dialogue between stakeholders and firmly supports the right of peaceful assembly exercised in peaceful protest.

It commended the leadership of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo over the past year and welcomed the election of Bissau-Guinean President Umaro Embalo as the new chairman of ECOWAS. 

"The United States remains committed to supporting ECOWAS and the transition governments of Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso as they navigate their paths toward responsive democratic governance," the statement said.

ECOWAS leaders at the summit on Sunday lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali with immediate effect.

Mali's borders with ECOWAS countries have also reopened and Ambassadors who were withdrawn as part of the sanctions have returned to their posts. 

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

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

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

On Guinea, the ECOWAS leaders appointed a new mediator, former Benin president, Thomas Yayi Boni, whose immediate task is to meet the Guinean transition authorities on the 36 months transitional 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.

-0- PANA MA 7July2022

-0- PANA MA 7July2022