West Africa: Mali – West African Leaders Agree On Sanctions After Coup

West African leaders have imposed punitive measures on Mali as the military stalls a return to civilian rule. The move comes as regional leaders met in Ghana to discuss the crisis.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met Sunday during an extraordinary summit of the 15-nation bloc in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and agreed to impose economic sanctions on Mali.

The punitive measures include sealing all land and air borders with the country. Nonessential financial transactions will be suspended, with Malian assets also being frozen in the ECOWAS central bank.

The meeting comes after the military offered timelines of four to five years for the transition to civilian rule, citing security concerns.

Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, said Sunday the delay proposed in returning Mali to civilian rule “is of concern to the entire West African region.”

Why has ECOWAS imposed sanctions?

In August 2020, Colonel Assimi Goita ousted the elected civilian leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as street protests raged.

With the looming threat of sanctions, Goita offered to restore civilian rule by February 2022, though he staged a second coup last May which removed the interim civilian leaders of the fragile and highly unstable nation.

The second, de facto coup postponed the timetable for the restoration of civilian rule and instilled serious doubts regarding his intentions among regional leaders and the international community.