Ecowas lifts post-coup sanctions on Mali 

Tuesday October 06 2020

Former Malian Foreign minister Moctar Ouane, who was named prime minister of the interim government. FILE PHOTO | AFP


The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has lifted a trade and travel blockade on Mali after the military masterminds of the August 18 coup agreed to form a transitional government led by a civilian. 

The regional bloc said on Tuesday that the decision to lift the sanctions against the junta was taken because of the appointment of Mali's 25-member interim government on Monday. 

Bah Ndaw, 70, is president of the 18-month transition government with military junta leader Col Assimi Goita as vice-president and former Foreign minister Moctar Ouane as prime minister. 

In the new cabinet, military officers occupy four key portfolios -- national security, defence, national reconciliation, and regional administration. 

Announcing the lifting of sanctions on Tuesday, the chairman of Ecowas Authority, Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo called on the Mali government to comply with other demands by the 15-member regional bloc to dissolve the ruling military council and release detainees. 

In the statement released in Abuja, Nigeria, President Akufo-Addo said the junta explained in the Transition Charter that the vice president is in charge of defence and security, but would never replace the transition president. 


"But it remains unclear if the new government enjoys the support of Malians, especially, the opposition coalition M5-RFP, which spare-headed national protests that preceded the military sacking of the government of elected president Ibrahim Keita.'' 

Ecowas had on August 20, 2020, imposed sanctions on Mali following the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. 

The 15-member bloc had said that the sanctions would only be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named to oversee the transition. 

The sanctions included a ban on commercial trade and financial flows, but not on basic necessities such as drugs, equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, fuel, and electricity. 

Ecowas also directed its member states to close borders against the embattled country and suspended Mali from all its decision-making organs and imposed restrictions against the military officers, their partners, and collaborators in the coup pending restoration of constitutional order. 

The bloc dispatched a high-level delegation to the West African nation to restore normalcy, which also demanded the release of all detained civilians and military personnel. 

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also demanded the "unconditional release" of President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse as well as the "immediate restoration of constitutional order." 

The junta has established the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to superintend a transition to civil rule.