ECOWAS Might Lift Mali’s Sanctions On Friday
24 September 2020 African News
The West African bloc ECOWAS will likely decide on Friday whether to lift potentially crippling sanctions imposed on Mali after last month’s coup, its mediator said.
The mediator, Nigerian former president Goodluck Jonathan, called the 15-nation bloc’s sanctions “unfortunate” during a visit to Mali’s capital Bamako on Wednesday.
West African leaders have heaped pressure on the ruling military junta to return power to civilians since the coup toppled president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.
ECOWAS has used the sanctions, which include closing borders and restricting trade, as leverage in negotiations with the junta.
The junta asked for the sanctions to be lifted this week after former defence minister Bah Ndaw was named interim president, tasked with governing for at most 18 months before holding polls.
The 70-year-old retired colonel will be sworn in on Friday, alongside junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who will serve as interim vice president.
According to the transition plan adopted by the junta, Ndaw will then appoint a prime minister, with the decision expected within a few days.
Jonathan, in Mali on Wednesday to assess the progress the junta has made in returning order to the country, said that ECOWAS was “eager” to make a decision on the sanctions.“ECOWAS doesn’t want any sanctions in any part of the community,” he told reporters.
However Jonathan added that it is up to Ghanaian President and current ECOWAS leader Nana Akufo-Addo to announce the decision.“I believe that on Friday after the inauguration, probably he will make that pronouncement,” Jonathan said.