The European Union (EU) says it will impose sanctions on Mali after the military leaders who carried out last year’s coup went back on a pledge to hold elections next month.
This follows a similar move by the Ecowas group of West African countries which on Sunday announced a trade embargo and border closures.
Announcing the decision to impose sanctions, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said despite all the warnings to the Malian authorities there’d been no sign of progress.
He said the sanctions were also in response to the arrival of Russian private military contractors.
West African countries and the EU hope the measures will push the military leaders to give up their plans to rule the country for several more years and instead hold elections.
What’s not clear is how all this will affect the international fight against jihadists. The EU says despite the sanctions it plans to keep soldiers in Mali.
The country’s military rulers have urged people to take to the streets on Friday to condemn Ecowas’s decision to impose a trade embargo.