Mali govt calls ECOWAS sanctions 'inhumane, unfortunate'

by IANS |

Bamako, Jan 11 (IANS) Mali reserves the right to respond to the "inhumane and unfortunate sanctions" taken by the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS), a government spokesman said in a statement.

Mali has decided to "recall its accredited Ambassadors" in other ECOWAS member states and to close "its land and air borders" with the states concerned on the basis of reciprocity, Xinhua news agency quoted spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga as saying in a live broadcast.

The government of Mali deplores the "inhumane" nature of these measures, which "affect the populations already severely affected" by security and health crises, in particular that of Covid-19, Maiga said, vowing steps to respond to these "unfortunate, illegal and illegitimate" sanctions, which were announced on Sunday at the conclusion of an ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Accra, Ghana.

The sanctions include the immediate withdrawal of ambassadors of all other ECOWAS member states from Mali; closure of land and air borders; suspension of all financial and economic transactions, with the exception of essential consumer goods, according to a communique issued after the meeting.

Maiga said the measures were in "contrast with the efforts made by the government and its readiness for dialogue with a view to reaching a compromise with ECOWAS on the timing of the elections in Mali".

He called for "calm and restraint" among the Malian people, adding that "steps have been taken to ensure the normal supply of the country by all appropriate means".

The ECOWAS leadership said the sanctions were taken because the proposed chronogram by the Malian transitional authorities that set the duration of the transition for a total of five and a half years is "totally unacceptable".

The sanctions excluded the supply of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, including materials needed for the control of Covid-19, petroleum products, and electricity.

All ECOWAS institutions are instructed to take steps to implement the sanctions with immediate effect.

ECOWAS has 15 member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Last November, ECOWAS imposed sanctions on the Malian transitional authorities in response to their claim of inability to meet the transition deadline of February 2022 for holding elections, including a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets.

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