Mali – Leaders of West Africa’s regional organization ECOWAS met on Friday to discuss Mali’s political crisis, three months after imposing harsh sanctions on the Sahelian country. The meetings began “behind closed doors between leaders of state” in Ghana’s capital, Accra. In a tweet, Malian Foreign Minister Aboudlaye Diop confirmed the meeting.
The situation in Guinea and Burkina Faso, both of which have recently had coups, was also discussed. The gathering comes a week after an ECOWAS envoy for Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, visited Bamako but failed to reach an agreement on restoring civilian authority.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is pressing Mali’s military to hold elections within 12–16 months after seizing control in 2020. Assimi Goita, the junta’s leader, has so far withstood international pressure to hold elections. Following the junta’s proposal to stay in power for up to five years, ECOWAS and UEMOA imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on Mali in January.
The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) court approved the suspension of Mali sanctions on Thursday. It was unclear whether the UEMOA court’s suspension decision would result in the sanctions being lifted immediately. The junta in Mali believes the sanctions are unconstitutional and has vowed to challenge them in international courts.