Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 September 2020:
Mali’s new president was sworn in yesterday, Friday, after five weeks of uncertainty following a military led coup which saw the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
The new president who is 70-year-old former Defence Minister – Bah Ndaw (Photo above in white), was selected by the coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head the country’s transitional government until elections are held in February 2022.
But ECOWAS – the West African regional representative body has issued a statement upholding sanctions imposed on Mali after the coup, until a civilian prime minister is appointed.
The sanctions include a ban on commercial trade and financial flows, but not on basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, fuel or electricity.
Mali’s military government had previously endorsed a plan to restore civilian government after the coup and appointed a committee which yesterday installed the former Defence Minister Bah Ndaw as the country’s interim president. (Photo: President Ndaw – in white, flanked by his deputy president – military leader Colonel Assimi Goita).
This is the statement published by the ECOWAS Mediation group yesterday:
1. Pursuant to the decision taken by the Heads of State and Government at the meeting held in Accra (Republic of Ghana), a Mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by the ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, H.E. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, conducted a visit to Bamako from 23rd to 25th September 2020.
2. The delegation included H.E. Shirley Ayorkor BOTCHWEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and H.E. Mr. Jean-Claude KASSI BROU, President of the ECOWAS Commission. Also participated in the Mission H.E. Mohamed Saleh ANNADIF, Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Mali, Head of MINUSMA and H.E. Pierre BUYOYA, High Representative of the African Union in Mali and the Sahel.
3. The purpose of the mission was to assess the state of progress made in the implementation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary Summits of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on 20th and 28th August 2020 and the mini-Summit held in Accra on 15th September 2020, with a view to restoring constitutional order in Mali.
4. The delegation held discussions with :
– The President of the Transition, Head of State, H.E. Bah N’DAW ;
– The National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by its President Colonel Assimi GOITA;
– The Ambassadors of the ECOWAS Member States accredited to Mali;
– The Ambassadors of the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council accredited to Mali (China, United States of America, France, Great Britain, and Russia), alongside the Permanent Representative of the European Union in Mali, the Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Spain in Mali.
5. The Mission reiterated that ECOWAS is mainly concerned with the preservation of Constitutional democracy in the sub-region, but not with providing support to any regime.
6. During their Mission, the delegation expressed serious concern over the situation of the civilian and military personalities of the former regime who have been in detention since 18th August 2020. The Mission was also able to meet with former Prime Minister Boubou CISSE. The Mission insists on the immediate release of these personalities in accordance with the decisions of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
7. The Mission took note of the appointment and swearing-in of Mr. Bah N’DAW as President of the Transition. The Mission extended to him its congratulations and best wishes on his new role.
8. The Mission recalled the importance and the urgency of appointing a civilian Prime Minister, Head of Government, who will be responsible for conducting, under the authority of the President of the Transition, the various reforms of the inclusive national dialogue and preparing for the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections.
9. The Mission also reiterated the importance of obtaining the final and official version of the Transition Charter, taking into account the decisions of the ECOWAS Summits of Heads of State and Government, notably on:
– The dissolution of the CNSP before/after the swearing-in of the President of the Transition;
– The responsibilities of the Vice-President in charge of Security and Defence,
– The impossibility for the Vice-President to replace the President of the Transition;
– The duration of the transition period of 18 months with effect from 15th September 2020.
10. Concerning the sanctions, in conformity with the decisions of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, following the swearing-in of the President of the Transition, they will be lifted once a civilian Prime Minister is appointed. A report on this issue will be submitted to the Chairman of ECOWAS.
11. The Mission noted that the Monitoring Committee on the situation in Mali established by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government had been installed. The Committee comprises:
– The ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan;
– The Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers;
– The President of the ECOWAS Commission;
– The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Mali, Head of MINUSMA;
– The High Representative of the African Union in Mali and the Sahel;
– The Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Mali.
The President of the Monitoring Committee has designated the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to Mali to ensure effective communication with the Mediator and the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers during their absence.
The Monitoring Committee will work in conjunction with all the bilateral and multilateral partners to support the transition process in Mali.
12. Following the installation of the transition bodies, ECOWAS will support the effective implementation of the proposed measures and will remain seized of the matter.
13. The ECOWAS Mediator on Mali expressed sincere gratitude, on behalf of his delegation, to the Malian Authorities for the warm welcome accorded them and for the facilities put at their disposal during their stay.