Abdul Malik Bangura: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 August 2020:
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) late Tuesday 18th August 2020, published a communique on the military takeover in Mali. Mali is one of fifteen members of the regional body.
Key among the decisions taken so far by the regional body includes the suspension of Mali from all decision making of ECOWAS as well as placing an economic and financial embargo on Mali.
ECOWAS has also urged member states to close all land and air borders with landlocked Mali, and calls for immediate implementation of sanctions against all military officers, their partners and collaborators who participated in the military takeover until Constitutional order is restored.
The regional body also says it is dispatching a high-level delegation to Mali to ensure the return of democratic rule.
Furthermore, other international bodies and governments have all condemned the military takeover in Mali.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded the “unconditional release” of Mali’s leaders and the “immediate restoration of constitutional order”.
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he “emphatically condemns” the arrests of President Keïta and his prime minister.
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the soldiers to return to barracks.
“The United States opposes any extra-constitutional change of government, whether by those on the streets or by the defense and security forces,” tweeted Peter Pham, the U.S. special envoy to the Sahel.
Meanwhile, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned late Tuesday night, hours after soldiers seized him from his home following months of mass protests against alleged corruption and worsening security in the West African country.
Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM just before midnight, Al Jazeera says a distressed Keita said his resignation – three years before his final term was due to end – was effective immediately. He also declared the dissolution of his government and the Malian National Assembly.
This is what ECOWAS said:
1. Following the ongoing mutiny within the Malian Armed Forces, ECOWAS notes with great concern the seizure of power by the Malian military.
2. This seizure of power takes place in a context of difficult socio-political crisis. Indeed, ECOWAS recalls that it has been engaged in a mediation process for more than two months in order to find a solution to this crisis. Following this coup by the Malian putschist, which is likely to have a negative impact on peace and stability in Mali and in the sub-region, ECOWAS:
a) strongly condemns the overthrow by Malian soldiers of democratically elected government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita;
b) categorically denies any form of legitimacy (recognition) to the coup plotters and demands the immediate restoration of constitutional order;
c) remindd the military of their responsibility for the safety and security of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita and other arrested officials;
d) demands the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita and all arrested officials;
e) suspendd Mali from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS with immediate effect, in accordance with the Additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, until the effective restoration of constitutional order;
f) decides on the closure of all land and air borders as well as stopping of all economic, commercial and financial flows and transactions between member countries of ECOWAS and Mali and invites all partners to do the same;
g) calls for the immediate ramp-up of the ECOWAS Standby Force;
h) calls for the immediate implementation of a set of sanctions against all putschists and their partners and collaborators;
i) decides to dispatch a high-level delegation to ensure the immediate return to constitutional order;
j) decides to remain seized of the situation in Mali.
Done in Abuja on 18th August 2020