Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday called for “the reinstatement of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,” who was overthrown by military putschists.“We call for the reinstatement of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president of the Republic in accordance with the constitutional provisions of his country,” Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said at the end of the virtual extraordinary summit.
The current Chairman of ECOWAS announced the suspension of Mali from all decision-making bodies of the regional body with immediate effect in accordance with the additional protocol on democracy and good governance until the effective restoration of constitutional order.
“We have decided to close all land and air borders and to stop economic, commercial and financial flows and transactions between ECOWAS member countries and Mali, except for basic necessities, electricity and fuel, and called on all partners to do the same,” he said.
In addition, ECOWAS Heads of State called for “the immediate implementation of a set of sanctions against all military putschists with their partners and collaborators” and decided to rapidly dispatch a high-level mediation to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order.
Mr. Issoufou announced that it was decided to increase the strength of the ECOWAS standby force. However, the framework for dialogue established by the Union remains valid and the mediator, Jonathan Goodluck, is available to continue his mission of bringing the positions of all parties closer together and reconciling the Malian people.
The ECOWAS scribe pointed out that discussions should be initiated with the leaders of the military junta to convey the Community’s message to them and make them understand that “the time of taking state power by force is over” in the sub-region.
To achieve this objective, ECOWAS intends to work with all the sons of Mali so that the country engages in a process where its democratic institutions will be fully restored and operational as soon as possible.
According to President Issoufou, Mali is in a “critical situation and a weakening of the State and institutions with serious risks” and this may lead to setbacks in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
A mutiny of soldiers on August 18 at the Kati military camp has gradually evolved in the control of the state apparatus with the arrest of high-ranking army officers and high-ranking personalities including the president.
Hostage to the putschists, IBK dissolved the national assembly and the government, before announcing his resignation in a televised statement. This putsch comes after another coup in 2012 which opened the door to terrorists.
ECOWAS decided to hold its next meeting in a week’s time, President Issoufou said in a final communiqué.