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The member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the Extraordinary Summit in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday imposed tougher sanctions on the military junta in Mali.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the Summit, emphasized that with the latest stand against unconstitutional seizure of power, “leaders of member states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have shown strong resolve and commitment to issues of good governance and democracy in the sub-region.”
Vice President Osinbajo had represented President Buhari at the Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday in Accra, Ghana, where the West African States leaders discussed the political crisis in the Republic of Mali.
ECOWAS leaders at the Summit, Vice President Osinbajo disclosed that there is a strong resolve by ECOWAS Member States to stand against coup d’états in the sub-region.
Prof. Osinbajo in a media interaction after the Summit, expressed: “what is being done is unprecedented. In the years gone by, the African Union, then known as OAU and ECOWAS, never came down heavily on Coups de’tats; but there is evidence now that there is a very strong resolve that ECOWAS and, indeed, AU and the international community will not accept unconstitutional takeover of government.”
Prof. Osinbajo further emphasized: “it’s very evident that there is very strong resolve, which is why we are here today. “We expect that the actions that will be taken will point the junta in Mali in the right direction.
“I think ECOWAS has shown that it has not lost its bite where there are concerns about issues of good governance and democratic enterprises in the sub-region, which is why sanctions against Guinea and Mali were imposed.”
ECOWAS leaders after reviewing the situation in Mali at the Extraordinary Summit in Ghana, rejected the transition schedule proposed by the Malian military junta, declaring that “the proposed chronogram for a transition is totally unacceptable”.
The sub-regional group also imposed additional sanctions on the junta, which include the following:
a) Withdrawal of all ECOWAS Ambassadors in Mali;
b) Closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali;
c) Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, with the exception of the following products: essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19 products, and electricity
d) Freeze of assets of the Republic of Mali in ECOWAS Central Banks;
e) Freeze of assets of the Malian State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks
f) Suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions from financial institutions.
The communique also disclosed that the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government “instructs all Community institutions to take steps to implement these sanctions with immediate effect.”
the ECOWAS leaders noted that the sanctions will only be gradually lifted “after an acceptable and agreed transition chronogram is finalised and monitored-satisfactory progress is realised in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections.”
ECOWAS in the communique noted that it remained concerned about the slow progress of the transition process four months after the coup in Guinea,.
The Communique issued at the end of the Summit read in part: “The Authority regrets the absence of chronogram for the election and the non-setting up of the National Council of Transition (CNT). It also directs that a mission be fielded to Conakry to discuss the transition.”
Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, in his remarks at the opening session of the Summit, commended the commitment and support of West African leaders to the progress and prosperity of the sub-region.
President Akufo-Addo, accordingly encouraged member states: “as you did through the entire year of 2021, you continue to demonstrate your commitment to responding to urgent and critical evolving situations in the region.
“This is the 6th Extraordinary Summit since I assumed the chair of the Authority that Your Excellencies have participated in concerning the vexed issues of Mali and Guinea. It is a strong testimony to your leadership and concern to the progress of ECOWAS.”
Aside from Vice President Osinbajo and the Ghanaian President – who presided at the Summit, other West African leaders present at the Summit were Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal; George Weah of Liberia; Patrice Talon of Benin Republic; Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso, and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Other Heads of State present include Umaro Embalò of the Republic of Guinea Bissau; Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic; Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and the Vice President of The Gambia, Isatou Touray.
The session was also attended by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the ECOWAS Mediator for Mali; the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; among other representatives of international organisations.
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