The West African Economic Community countries have agreed on Sunday to close their borders with Mali, and impose trade sanctions for delaying the conduct of elections in Mali by the military.
The meeting of the ECOWAS Heads of State reviewed the submissions made by the Malian to prepare for the December 2025 elections instead of February 2022, as they had agreed after taking office.
In a communique issued after an emergency summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, ECOWAS said it found the proposed timetable for a transition back to constitutional rule totally unacceptable.
The sanctions include the closure of Mali’s borders for all essential goods, freezing of its assets at the West African regional bank and restrictions on its operations with regional banks.
The government will take necessary measures to respond to the sanctions imposed on Mali, it said in a statement.
Due to the possible deployment of ECOWAS troops, the government calls on the defense and security forces, as well as the populations to remain mobilized according to the statement.
15 member states have agreed to impose additional sanctions on Mali in the near future.
The Malian government led by Col Ismael Goita has not commented on the decision taken by the ECOWAS. Special Forces commander Assimi Goita was one of several colonels who overthrew Malian President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita in August 2020, after which the interim authorities promised an 18-month transition civilian rule.
Goita staged a second coup in May 2021 when he pushed aside the interim president and took the presidency. The tougher response from ECOWAS reflects the pressure, the organization is under to show it can protect democracy from a backslide to military rule after West and Central Africa saw four coups within 18 months.
“The new measures will be gradually lifted only after an acceptable election timeframe is finalized and progress is made towards implementing it,” ECOWAS said.