Ecowas withdraws all ambassadors from Mali in raft of heavier sanctions

All member states of the Economic Commission of West African States (Ecowas) are withdrawing their ambassadors from Mali with immediate effect owing to the transition government’s inability to commit to plans by the bloc.

At an Extraordinary Summit held in Accra on Sunday, January 9, the Authority of Heads of State and Government rejected the chronogram by the current administration in Mali, citing a lack of consensus by national stakeholders.

“The Authority finds the proposed chronogram for a transition totally unacceptable,” President of Ecowas Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou told journalists in Accra.

“This chronogram simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage during the next five years.

“The Authority reiterates its call for the transition authorities to focus on activities geared towards an expeditious return to constitutional order and to defer key reforms to legitimate elected institutions to be established after the elections.”

Ecowas, therefore, upheld the previous sanctions on Mali and imposed stiffer ones.

Aside withdrawal of all ambassadors, land and air borders between member states and Mali are going to be shut.

Also, all commercial and financial transactions with Mali are going to be suspended with the exception of essential consumer goods, pharmaceutical products as well as medical products and supplies.

The country’s assets with Ecowas Central Bank are also going to be frozen.

The country is also going to be suspended from all financial assistance and transactions from all financial institutions.

“The Authority instructs all community institutions to take steps to implement these sanctions which will be implemented with immediate effect.”

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Mr Kassi Brou, however, indicated that “the sanctions will be gradually lifted only after an acceptable and agreed chronogram is finalised and monitored satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections”.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana