Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 August 2020:
Heads of States and governments of ECOWAS countries, held a webinar meeting yesterday to review the latest developments in Mali and agree a common position. This is the statement of their position:
1. ECOWAS Heads of State and Government convened an extraordinary session by videoconference on 20 August 2020. Before proceeding with the agenda, they expressed their condolences to and solidarity with H.E. Roch Christian Kabore, President of Burkina Faso, and H.E. Mahamadou lssoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, and their respective people for the terrorist attacks of 7 and 9 August 2020 in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Niger, which left many dead and wounded.
2. In accordance with the agenda and in line with the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, the Heads of State and Government reviewed the current political situation in Mali, characterised by an ongoing military coup d’etat on 18 August 2020. The coup resulted in the arrest of the democratically-elected President in 2018, H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and other Malian government officials.
3. The Heads of State and Government noted, with deep concern, that this attempted coup d’etat comes in the context of a socio-political crisis triggered by the parliamentary elections of March-April 2020. The crisis took the form of protests, sometimes violent, held by some political stakeholders, members of religious associations and civil society organisations.
4. The attempted coup d’etat also took place in a difficult global context for Mali with terrorist attacks, inter-community tensions in the central part of the country and a health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic along with its economic and financial consequences.
5. Furthermore, the attempted coup d’etat of 18 August 2020 is very similar in many respects to the 2012 coup that destabilised Mali and spurred attacks by terrorist groups.
6. In a bid to stabilise the country, prior to 18 August 2020, ECOWAS began a mediation process, with first, a mission conducted by the Ministerial Committee comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Niger, Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
7. ECOWAS had also appointed a Mediator in the person of H.E. Mr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who fielded three missions to Mali and met with almost all the stakeholders.
8. Five ECOWAS Heads of State, namely, the President of the Republic of Niger, current Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, the President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, the President of the Republic of Ghana, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the President of the Republic of Senegal had also embarked on a good offices missionto Bamako on 23 July 2020, where they met with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and all the stakeholders in the crisis.
9. Subsequent to these different missions, an Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government was held on 27 July 2020 where important decisions were taken with regard to the recomposition of the Constitutional Court, resignation of members of the National Assembly whose elections were contested, establishment of a national unity government including the opposition and civil society and setting up of a commission to conduct investigations to identify those responsible for the violence that led to deaths and casualties during the protests of 1O and 11 July 2020.
10. In addition, the Mediator fielded a follow-up mission from 10 to 13 August 2020 to review the status of implementation of the Decisions of the 27 July 2020 Summit. It should be noted that progress was made, with particular regard to the recomposition of the Constitutional Court officially sworn-in on 10 August 2020.
11. Unfortunately and against all expectations, less than a week after the Mediator left, a mutiny was launched in a military camp on 18 August 2020. The mutineers moved towards the residence of the President of the Republic, forcing him, under threat of arms, to follow them to the military camp with other government officials present. Furthermore, after several hours and different pressures, the soldiers forced the President of the Republic to make a statement announcing his resignation and dissolution of the National Assembly.
12. Subsequent to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s statement, made under duress, the mutineers, coming together under the name “National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP)”, announced that they had taken control of the country.
13. After a thorough review of this extremely serious situation, the Heads of State and Government:
a) condemn in the strongest possible terms the threats and pressure by military putschists on President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to force him to announce his resignation ;
b) strongly condemn the attempted overthrow of the democratically-elected Government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita by military putschists;
c) are categorically opposed to any form of legitimacy for the military putschists and demand the immediate restoration of constitutional order;
d) demand the immediate and unconditional release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and all arrested government officials;
e) remind the military putschists of their individual and collective responsibility to ensure the safety and security of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the arrested government officials;
f) call for the immediate reinstatement of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as President of the Republic, in accordance with the constitutional provisions of the country.
g) suspend Mali from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies with immediate effect, in accordance with the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, until the effective restoration of constitutional order;
h) decide to close all land and air borders as well as stop all financial, economic and trade flows and transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, except for basic essentials, drugs and other supplies and equipment for the fight against COVID-19, petroleum products and electricity, and encourage all partners to do likewise;
i) call for the immediate imposition of targeted sanctions against all military putschists and their partners and collaborators;
j) decide to immediately dispatch a delegation to Mali led by the Mediator comprising, in particular, the Chair of the Council of Ministers and the President of the Commission, and tasked with ensuring a speedy return to constitutional order;
k) call for the immediate activation of the ECOWAS Standby Force; SI Page
I) decide to remain seized of the situation in Mali and, to this end, meet via videoconef rence in a week’s time to assess the situation in light of the mission report to be submitted by the Mediator-led delegation.
14. The Headsof State and Government welcome the support expressed by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council to ECOWAS on 19 August 2020, particularly through the firm condemnation of the action by the military putschists.
15. The Heads of State and Government express their solidarity with the people of Mali and reaffirm their firm commitment to continue to work towards a quick resolution of the crisis.
On other matters
The Heads of State and Government were informed of the approval of government programme by the National Assembly in Guinea Bissau and welcomed the development.