Following recent coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, West African leaders have evaluated the political situation in the three nations and have issued an ultimatum to restore constitutional order.
The group’s chairman, Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, described the three countries as recalcitrant members of the bloc at a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Friday.
According to the final declaration issued after the summit, the West African presidents authorised Mali’s transitional government 12 to 16 months to organise elections.
In August 2020 and May 2021, Mali had two coups.
In September, the military deposed Guinean President Alpha Conde.
The Mali junta pledged elections in February but later altered plans, claiming elections would be conducted in 2026, a decision that the ECOWAS has rejected.
The group invited Mali’s interim president, Col. Assimi Goita, to attend the summit in person on Friday, but he declined, preferring to participate remotely.
According to the communique, ECOWAS regretted Goita’s failure to attend the conference to find a solution to the current crisis.
Meanwhile, the bloc has encouraged Burkina Faso’s interim authorities to reschedule a 36-month transition period to a “more acceptable timeline.”
“Deep concerns” were also voiced by the leaders about former Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore’s continuous captivity since the coup, despite numerous appeals for his unconditional release.
It sought Kabore’s release “no later than March 31, 2022,” after which the transitional authorities will face individual consequences.
Guinea has also been advised by ECOWAS to present an “appropriate transition timetable” by the end of April.
Individual sanctions against members of the administration and the National Transitional Council (CNT) would be applied after that date, it warned.
Mali and Guinea have already been sanctioned by ECOWAS for delaying the restoration of constitutional order.
The leaders opted to maintain the sanctions put in place in January.
Burkina Faso remains suspended from all ECOWAS entities until constitutional order is restored.
It was suspended from ECOWAS, alongside Mali and Guinea, when the military ousted President Kabore.
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