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Mali’s military leader invites ECOWAS to dialogue, says new sanctions ‘inhumane’

Mali’s military leader invites ECOWAS to dialogue, says new sanctions ‘inhumane’
January 11
14:54 2022

Assimi Goita, Mali’s military ruler, says the country is open to dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the wake of new sanctions imposed by the regional body.

Member nations of the West African bloc took the decision at an extraordinary summit in Accra, Ghana on Sunday.

ECOWAS rejected the proposal by Mali’s government to hold elections in 2025, saying it finds it totally unacceptable.

According to the West African body, the delay “simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage”.

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The sanctions include the closure of land and air borders with Mali, suspension of non-essential financial transactions and freezing of Mali’s assets in banks in ECOWAS countries.

Speaking on state TV on Monday, Goita said while the sanctions are “inhumane,” the country is taking steps to face them.

“Even if we regret the illegitimate, illegal and inhumane nature of certain decisions, Mali remains open to dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States to find a consensus,” he said.

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“There is concern about the consequences of these measures, but I reassure you all that we are taking actions to face this challenge.”

How did Mali get here?

The political crisis in Mali took a different turn in August 2020 when the military seized power from President Ibrahim Keita. After the coup, the country instituted a political transition with a timeline of 18 months from September 15, 2021.

Bah N’Daw, Mali’s former defence minister, was named president of the transitional government, while Goita was named vice-president. They were appointed to oversee the transition period.

But in June 2021, there was another coup led by Goita, who accused the interim president and the then Prime Minister Moctar Ouane of trying to sabotage the country’s transition.

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Two days after seizing power from N’Daw, Goita declared himself president.

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