Sunday, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) withdrew Mali’s economic and financial sanctions after its military authorities suggested a 24-month transition to democracy and issued a new electoral legislation.
The group imposed severe sanctions on Mali in January after the junta said it would not hold democratic elections as planned the following month.
At a news conference, ECOWAS Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou stated that the sanctions will be lifted immediately. Reopened borders with Mali and the return of regional diplomats to Bamako.
Kassi Brou stated, “However, the chiefs of state opted to maintain individual sanctions and Mali’s suspension from ECOWAS until the return of constitutional governance.”
The sanctions were directed at members of the reigning junta and the transitional council.
Due to the sanctions, Mali has defaulted on more than $300 million in debt, cutting it off from the regional financial market and the regional central bank.
The West African leaders gathered in Accra also accepted a commitment from the junta that seized power in Burkina Faso in January to restore constitutional order within two years.
Kassi Brou stated that after lengthy discussions with the Burkina Faso coup leaders, a fresh proposal for a 24-month transition was more acceptable after the heads of state rejected a 36-month proposal.
He added that economic and financial sanctions against Burkina Faso were also eased.
However, the ECOWAS leaders rejected the three-year transition period offered by the September coup leaders in Guinea. They instructed the junta of Guinea to offer a revised timeline by July’s end or risk economic sanctions.
The heads of state nominated Yayi Boni, the former president of Benin, as a new mediator and requested the junta of Guinea to collaborate with him and promptly offer a new timeline.
“After that, economic sanctions will be implemented,” added Kassi Brou.