ECOWAS Finally Lifts Mali Sanctions

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West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS lifted Mali sanctions on Tuesday after the country adhered to the requirements imposed months back.

“Taking into account the notable progress made towards a constitutional normalisation, and the support the process, the heads of states have decided to lift the sanctions on Mali, and called on partners to support Mali,” said the statement, signed by the chair of the bloc.

Last month ECOWAS mandated that Mali must immediately appoint a civil government following the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The bloc imposed trade restrictions, which included a ban on commercial trade and financial flows. Necessities such as drugs, fuel, and equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic were not included in the ban.

The following week, former Mali defense minister Ba N’Daou was named interim president with Colonel Assimi Goita, the junta leader who ousted Keita last month, as his vice president.

ECOWAS instructed that the vice-president, whose remit includes defense and security issues, cannot succeed the president under any circumstances.

“I will never be happier than when handing over to the future elected president, without question elected and elected cleanly,” N’Daou said at his swearing-in ceremony.

Days later, Mali’s former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, was tapped as its transitional prime minister. Ouane announced the government of 25 ministers, four of them military officials — whose positions are the ministries of defense, security, territorial administration and national reconciliation.

The lifted sanctions are another signal that peace is on the horizon for the people of Mali.

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