The Republic of Mali’s ruling junta has faulted sanctions imposed on the country by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), describing the sanctions “illegal” and unwarranted.
The regional-bloc leaders at its Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana, yesterday, disclosed that they would be recalling their ambassadors from Republic of Mali, and impose additional sanctions on the military junta in the country.
Aside from recalling all ECOWAS ambassadors from the country, the leaders also said that they would be closing land and air borders between the ECOWAS member states and Mali to further drive home the point that the regional block henceforth not accept forceful takeover of government.
The body also imposed additional sanctions on the junta, including the following, suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, with the exception of the following products: essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19 products, and electricity
Others are freezing of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks; freezing of assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks, and suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from financial institutions.
The meeting in Ghana of regional leaders followed months of increasing tensions over the timetable for restoring civilian rule in Mali after two coups and a military takeover.
However, dissatisfied with the development, the junta leaders in a statewide broadcast on national television on Monday, the military regime’s spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, announced the recall of Bamako’s ambassadors to the West African nations involved and the closure of air and land borders with them.
“The government of Mali strongly condemns these illegal and illegitimate sanctions,” said the junta’s statement.
It accused ECOWAS and UEMOA of being “exploited by extra-regional powers with ulterior motives,” an apparent reference to Mali’s partners engaged militarily in the Sahel such as France, which has thousands of troops battling a jihadist insurgency.
The junta said that it “deplores the inhuman nature of these measures which affect populations already severely affected by the security crisis and the health crisis.”
Faced with the West African embargo, the junta said tat it had made arrangements to ensure normal supplies “by all appropriate means” and called on the population to remain calm.