ECOWAS Mulls Sanctions as Mali Junta Pledges to Handover Power in 4 Years

Macron Parleys African leaders Ahead of Expected Mali Withdrawal (News Central TV)

Malian interim authorities have cut the proposed transition back to democracy following a 2020 coup from five years to four, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, acting Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) chair said on Sunday.

ECOWAS leaders are meeting in Accra, Ghana, to discuss a proposal by transitional authorities in Mali to delay elections and return to constitutional rule.

Colonel Assimi Goita and the transitional government initially agreed to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022, 18 months after Boubacar Ibrahim Keita was deposed.

It has not made much progress since then, blaming disorganisation and a wave of Islamist violence. It informed ECOWAS at the end of last year that the transition would be extended to five years.

“Two days ago, the head of the Malian transition stated that the period had now been modified to four years,” Akufo-Addo said

Akufo-Addo recalled the West African bloc’s commitment to implement additional sanctions if members were not satisfied with election results. Members of the transitional authority and their family members were subjected to travel bans and asset freezes last November.

It is expected that the bloc will announce the outcome of its talks, as well as any sanctions decisions, immediately following the summit.

After four coups within 18 months in West and Central Africa, ECOWAS is under pressure to show it can protect democracy.

On Sunday, the eight members of the West African monetary union (UEMOA) held a Mali-focused summit in Accra ahead of the ECOWAS gathering, raising expectations of more sweeping economic sanctions being imposed.

Mali’s imports dropped sharply after ECOWAS closed its borders and halted financial flows immediately after the takeover in the year 2020.

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