Mali welcomes lifting of ‘illegal, inhumane’ sanctions

(FILES) A young man holds a Malian national flag during a mass demonstration in Bamako, on January 14, 2022, to protest against sanctions imposed on Mali and the Junta by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). (Photo by FLORENT VERGNES / AFP)

BAMAKO, Mali (AFP) — Mali’s junta said Monday it was “satisfied” by the lifting of “illegal and inhumane” sanctions imposed by West African states in January after two coups in the country.

The military-dominated government said in a statement it “notes with satisfaction a convergence of views that has allowed us to reach a compromise” that led to the lifting of the embargo against Mali.

It thanked the Malian people for their “sacrifice and resilience” in the face of “illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions” by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Bamako also praised the “active solidarity” of neighboring Guinea and Mauritania, whose territories and ports, in Conakry and Nouakchott, made it possible to circumvent the West African embargo.

The pair allowed Mali to bypass Dakar and Abidjan where the bulk of products destined for landlocked Mali traditionally transit.

West African leaders on Sunday lifted trade and financial sanctions imposed in January on Mali, which underwent two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

The ruling colonels have yielded to ECOWAS demands by recently publishing a new electoral law and a timetable that includes a presidential election in February 2024, during a transition limited to two years.

However, sanctions and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS bodies remain in place until constitutional order is restored.

The political crisis in Mali has been accompanied by a serious security crisis since 2012 and the outbreak of separatist and jihadist insurgencies in the north.

© Agence France-Presse