The harsher sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Mali recently are inapt, Paul Boateng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (ACSIS), said here Monday.
According to him, the West African regional body treated the Malian military junta with kid gloves at the initial stages of the coup d’état, hence the need to use diplomacy in resolving the crisis.
“They were initially treated with kid gloves, so we cannot use force to bring them on track. Those strict sanctions against them are not relevant now. Diplomacy is the only way out now, “Boateng told News Ghana.
He urged ECOWAS leaders to reconsider the sanctions against Mali and guide the junta leadership in returning the country to constitutional rule.
The leadership of the ECOWAS, at an extraordinary summit in Accra a week ago, announced a flurry of harsher sanctions on Mali a week ago.
In a communique after the summit, the West African body said the proposed chronogram by the Malian transitional authorities that set the duration of the transition at a total of five and a half years is “totally unacceptable.”
The communique said all ECOWAS member states would immediately withdraw their ambassadors from Mali.
“The other sanctions include the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Mali, the suspension of all financial and economic transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali, with the exception of essential consumer goods,” said the communique.
The sanctions specifically excluded the supply of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, including materials needed for the control of COVID-19, petroleum products, and electricity.
ECOWAS instructed the freeze of all assets of Mali in the ECOWAS central bank, the freeze of assets of the Malian state, state enterprises, and parastatals in commercial banks, and the suspension of Mali from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions.
The ECOWAS authorities instructed all community institutions to take steps to implement the sanctions with immediate effect.
“The sanctions will be gradually lifted only after an acceptable and agreed chronogram is finalized and monitored satisfactory progress is realized in the implementation of the chronogram for the elections,” the communique added.
According to ECOWAS, the sanctions were necessary to facilitate the process of the return to constitutional rule in Mali, which is necessary for peace, stability, and growth as well as to protect the population.
ECOWAS, in November last year, imposed sanctions on the Malian transitional authorities in response to their claim of inability to meet the transition deadline of February 2022 for holding elections, including a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets.