The West African bloc ECOWAS is expected to decide whether to lift sanctions imposed on Mali after last month’s coup on Friday, its mediator said, reported Africa News.
During a visit to Mali’s capital Bamako on Wednesday, the mediator, Nigerian former President Goodluck Jonathan, called the 15-nation bloc’s sanctions “unfortunate.”
West African leaders have created pressure on the ruling military junta to transition power to civilians since the military toppled president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a coup on August 18.
ECOWAS has used the sanctions, which include closing borders and restricting trade, as leverage in negotiations with the junta. The sanctions include a ban on commercial trade and financial flows, but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.
The junta appealed for the lifting of the sanctions after it appointed former defence minister Bah Ndaw as the interim president. He has been tasked with governing for at most 18 months before holding polls. The junta also urged the people to form a “sacred union around Mali” and support the security forces.
The 70-year-old retired colonel will be sworn in on Friday, alongside junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who will serve as interim vice president.
According to the military junta’s transition plan, Ndaw will then appoint a prime minister, with the decision expected within a few days.
On Wednesday, Jonathan, who made a visit to Mali to assess the progress the junta has made in returning order to the country, said that ECOWAS was eager to make a decision on the sanctions.
Nigerian former president said the West African bloc doesn’t want any sanctions in any part of the community. He added that it is up to Ghanaian President and current ECOWAS leader Nana Akufo-Addo to announce the decision.
“I believe that on Friday after the inauguration, probably he will make that pronouncement,” Jonathan said.