West African leaders lifted economic and financial sanctions against Mali

  • Mali defaulted on its debt due to sanctions
  • The bloc accepts a 24-month transition in Burkina Faso
  • Gives the Guinean junta until the end of July for the new timetable

ACCRA, July 3 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali after its military leaders proposed a 24-month transition to democracy and published a new electoral law.

The bloc imposed tough sanctions on Mali in January after the junta said it would not hold democratic elections next month as originally planned.

ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Cassie Bru said at a press conference that the sanctions would be lifted immediately. Borders with Mali will be reopened and regional diplomats will return to Bamako. Read more

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“Nevertheless, the heads of state decided to maintain the individual sanctions and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS until the return to constitutional rule,” Cassie Bru said.

Individual sanctions targeted members of the ruling junta and transitional council.

Mali defaulted on more than $300 million of its debt due to sanctions that cut it off from the regional financial market and the regional central bank.

West African leaders meeting in Accra also accepted a pledge by the junta that seized power in Burkina Faso in January to restore constitutional order within 24 months.

Cassi Bru said that after a long discussion with Burkina Faso’s coup leaders, a new proposal for a 24-month transition was more acceptable after heads of state rejected the proposed 36-month transition.

Economic and financial sanctions against Burkina Faso were also lifted, he said.

But ECOWAS leaders rejected a three-year transition proposed by the coup leaders who seized power in Guinea in September. They told the Guinean junta to propose a new schedule by the end of July or face economic sanctions.

The heads of state appointed former Benin President Yai Boni as the new mediator and urged the Guinean junta to work with him and quickly propose a new timetable.

“In addition, economic sanctions will be imposed,” Cassie Bru said.

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Reporting by Cooper Inveen and Christian Acorley; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Kevin Liffey

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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