ECOWAS imposes heavy sanctions on Mali following refusal to hold elections

At an extraordinary summit held in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, the ECOWAS states have decided to impose a string of economic, financial and diplomatic measures against Mali.

This follows Mali’s postponement of democratic elections, which were initially scheduled for the coming month of February.

ECOWAS states have recalled ambassadors in Bamako, closed air borders with Mali and instructed all commercial banks to freeze Malian assets. Furthermore, UEOMA, the regional monetary union of the seven French-speaking ECOWAS countries, has also severed Mali’s access to regional financial markets.

These sanctions come after the junta governing Malia declared that it was pushing back the agreed date for democratic transition to December 2025. Their justification for this postponement is that a democratically robust vote cannot be organised in a context of deep instability, mired by the an increasing islamist insurgency. ECOWAS considers this renewed time frame utterly unacceptable, stating that it “simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage”. Its response demonstrates a strong defence of “democracy and good governance” which is deemed necessary in a context of resurgence of military rule in West Africa.

Malian authorities have promptly responded that they consider these sanctions to be “illegal and illegitimate”.

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