Colonel Assimi Goita Calls for Protests Against ‘Extreme’ Sanctions

Colonel Assimi Goita Calls for Protests Against ‘Extreme’ Sanctions (News Central TV)

Mali’s army-dominated government stated Monday night that the sanctions, which include border closures and a trade embargo, are “extreme” and urged “the entire population and diaspora” to demonstrate against them on Friday.

ECOWAS leaders agreed to sanction Mali on Sunday, in a decision that was later backed by former colonial power France at the UN Security Council.

Apart from border closures and imposing a trade embargo, they also cut off financial aid to Mali and froze the country’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States.

The move followed a proposal by Mali’s interim government last month to stay in power for up to five years before conducting elections despite international demands that it respect a promise to hold elections in February.

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On Monday night, the interim government in Bamako stated that it would “develop a response plan to safeguard our sovereignty and preserve the integrity of our national territory.”

Mali’s relations with its neighbours and partners have steadily deteriorated since a coup led by Colonel Assimi Goita in August 2020 against president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Under threat of sanctions following the coup, Goita had promised to hold presidential and legislative elections and to restore civilian rule by February 2022.

But he staged a de facto second coup in May 2021, forcing out an interim civilian government and disrupting the electoral timetable to restore democracy. He thereafter declared himself interim president.

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His government has argued that rampant insecurity in Mali prevents it from organising safe elections by the end of February.

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