Supported by France, Algeria and the United States, ECOWAS puts pressure on Mali

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (Uémoa) took on January 9 in Accra, Ghana, a battery of vigorous economic and diplomatic measures to l ‘against Mali to sanction the Malian authorities who wish to extend the transition period which would end with the organization of a presidential election in 2026. The editorialist Claude Blanchemaison, expert in international relations, deciphers the situation.

“The ECOWAS took very tough decisions”, declares Claude Blanchemaison, referring to the embargo of the country desired by ECOWAS. The expert in international relations underlines that this could be explained by “the attitude of Colonel Goïta”. He affirms that the ECOWAS had been “understanding” during the coup d’etat in August 2020, “discussing with the junta” and fixing a date in 2022 for elections and “a return to a civilian government”.

Except that since then, a second coup d’état has taken place in May 2021. Colonel Goïta then asking for five more years for the elections, ie “a return to civilian life [pas] before the end of February 2026 ”. The 15 heads of state of ECOWAS consequently considered that the colonel had “made fun of them a little”.

According to Claude Blanchemaison, if Colonel Goïta says he is always open to discussing with ECOWAS, the latter “will not let it go” and will probably demand elections within a very short time, in which case sanctions will be applied. Claude Blanchemaison also thinks that the security situation in Mali will “deteriorate further”. In this sense, he notes that the political, security or economic difficulties “have increased because of the stubbornness of the junta which says it wants to make reforms but which does not”.

At the international level, France and the United States support the sanctions

On January 11, France, Algeria and the United States further supported the pressure exerted by West African states on the Malian authorities to comply with the demand for a rapid return of civilians to to be able to. President Emmanuel Macron assured that France and the European Union supported the “very clear and firm position” of ECOWAS in the face of “junta drifts”. The Europeans are preparing to strengthen their sanctions in turn, he added.

The United States also supports West African sanctions, announced its ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, at a meeting of the Security Council.

The Algerian neighbor, another essential ally, encouraged the Malian military to “take a responsible and constructive attitude”. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune considers “reasonable and justifiable a transition period of a firm duration of 12 to 16 months”, expressed his services in a statement.

At the same time, Russia and China blocked, according to diplomats, the adoption of a UN Security Council text supporting the sanctions decided by ECOWAS.

Proposed by France, this text aimed to obtain a united Council position with regard to the soldiers at the head of Mali who no longer foresee elections on February 27 as they had initially committed to.

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