The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has released a communique, in which declared tougher sanctions on Mali after its military junta failed to meet its deadline for a transition to civilian rule.
An ECOWAS document provides for a few exceptions in a select group of products like pharmaceutical and medical supplies, essential consumer goods as well as the coronavirus response-related products. Effective immediately, Mali is cut off entirely from all Ecowas institutions.
In other words, the 16-member West African bloc leaders ordered for the freezing of the assets of the African nation in its regional central and commercial banks, and for the suspension of all financial assistance from ECOWAS financing bodies. Moreover, bloc hinted at the possibility of military intervention.
Mali slammed the economic embargo imposed by ECOWAS, saying it is a “clear violation” of its relevant treaty, and warned against any attempt to deploy foreign military forces on its soil.
All nations of the West African organization have been instructed to shut all their borders with the landlocked Mali, and to desist from engaging in all commercial transactions with it.
Mali: junta accused ECOWAS of being used by extra-regional powers
In fact, the military-led transition junta was subsequently given an 18-month deadline to conduct elections and transfer power to a civilian administration. But the military argues that the timeframe isn’t sufficient to meet the deadline.
The first wave of economic sanctions was imposed on the Malian junta in November 2021, amid signs of reluctance to meet its deadlines. About 150 junta and transition government officials were slammed with individual sanctions that include asset freeze and travel ban.
Meantime, the Malian junta accused ECOWAS of being used by “extra-regional powers with ulterior motives.” The military government also warned against any attempt to deploy foreign military forces on its soil, in apparent reference to the activation of the bloc’s Standby Force.