Mali’s military junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, on Tuesday, demanded the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on the country after last month’s coup, reported African News.
The 15-nation West Africa bloc ECOWAS closed Mali’s borders and imposed trade restrictions after rebellious military officers deposed former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18. Last week, ECOWAS also insisted that it would maintain the measures unless Mali’s ruling officers appoint civilian leaders.
Current ECOWAS restrictions ban commercial trade and financial flows, but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.
The junta appointed former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou as president of Mali’s new transitional government. The newly elected president will lead an interim government before staging elections and returning to civilian rule.
Addressing reporters on Tuesday during a ceremony to mark 60 years of Malian independence, Goita said West African leaders must end their trade embargo as the junta has already nominated a civilian as interim president.
“The international community is watching us … which is why we accepted the ECOWAS principles,” Goita said. “In the coming days, ECOWAS must remove these sanctions for the happiness of the Malian people.”
The 70-year-old NDaou will lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before staging national elections, according to a plan endorsed by the military government.
Goita also urged the people to form a “sacred union around Mali” and support the security forces.
“Today is an opportunity for me to congratulate and encourage them for all their efforts to bring security and peace to Mali,” the junta leader said of the troops.
He also called on Malians to support the “partner forces” of France and the United Nations in the country.
Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, ECOWAS’s mediator in Mali’s crisis, is expected to make a visit to the capital Bamako on Wednesday.