The Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could not accept “the lack of headway in the preparations for the elections.The Sword of Damocles of ECOWAS has finally fallen on Mali. The transitional authorities of this country at war with the jihadists have informed the regional organization of their “inability to meet the deadline” for the transition set for February 22, 2022.
Meeting at an extraordinary summit on November 7 in Accra, Ghana, West African leaders imposed “sanctions, with immediate effect, on identified individuals and groups, including all transitional authorities and other transitional institutions.” The sanctions include a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets, which also apply to their family members.
ECOWAS deplored “the absence of a detailed timetable of activities for the (holding) elections on the agreed dates. In the final communiqué of the summit, the Conference of Heads of State and Government reiterated “the need to respect the transitional timetable” and called on “the transitional authorities to act accordingly to ensure a rapid return to constitutional order.”
On this basis, ECOWAS invited the international community to take the necessary measures to ensure that the transitional authorities respect their commitment to a rapid return to constitutional order.
On the security front, the regional organization expressed concern over the deteriorating situation, which it said was the result of “increased political uncertainty” in the country.
To reverse the trend, the Conference of Heads of State and Government called on the transitional authorities “to increase their efforts by ensuring (in particular) an effective presence of the State in the areas affected” by the jihadist threat.
In order to help Mali secure its territory, the regional bloc body urged its neighboring countries to “strengthen the security presence along their borders. A more robust mandate and the strengthening of the operational capacity of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) could enable Mali, according to ECOWAS, to face the challenges of terrorism.
To this end, the regional organization plans to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council with a view to making the necessary changes to the MINUSMA’s mandate.
Until December 12, 2021, the date set for the ordinary summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, is charged with examining the situation in Mali and proposing additional sanctions if necessary.