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ECOWAS suspends Mali after Accra summit

The suspension of Mali from the Economic Community of West African States takes immediate effect and will remain in force until the country returns to democratic rule

The heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have suspended Mali from the regional body, ordering the military leaders who took charge of the nation last week to restore the transitional arrangement put in place in August 2020 with the aim of returning the troubled West African state to democratic rule by 27 February 2022.

ECOWAS heads of state took this decision on Sunday 30 May 2021 after over five hours of deliberations at an extraordinary summit on the Malian situation at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra.

Addressing the press after the summit, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the heads of state expect the Malian military junta to work closely with the ECOWAS Secretariat forthwith to ensure that the existing transitional arrangement is restored.

The first step must be to appoint a civilian to lead the transition process, she said.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, chairman of ECOWAS
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Add is the current chairman of ECOWAS

 

“The decision of the heads of state is to go according to the protocol on democracy and good governance to suspend Mali from ECOWAS but, at the same time, work with ECOWAS to ensure that the transition is on track towards the end goal, which is to return the people of Mali to democratic rule,” Botchwey said.

Joint communiqué

According to a ten-paragraph communiqué issued by ECOWAS at the end of the summit, the heads of state “strongly condemn this recent coup d’état, which is a violation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary summit held at the Peduase Lodge, Aburi, Ghana on 15 September 2020 and a violation of the transition charter”.

The communiqué further states that, “after extensive discussions on the situation in Mali”, the heads of state and government decided “to reaffirm the importance and necessity of respecting the democratic process for ascending to power, in conformity with the 2001 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. They particularly condemn all actions that led to ongoing instability in Mali, and its attendant consequences in the region.”

ECOWAS furthermore issued a “call for a new civilian prime minister to be nominated immediately”. The heads of state demanded that “a new inclusive government should be formed to proceed with the transition programme” and stressed “the need to respect the transition period of 18 months decided in Accra. In this context, the date of 27 February 2022 already announced for the presidential election should be absolutely maintained. A monitoring mechanism will be put in place to this effect.”

The communiqué reiterated “the earlier decisions that the head of the transition, the vice-president and the prime minister of the transition should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming presidential election” and reaffirmed “ECOWAS’ support to accompany the transition process in Mali“”.

Wilberforce Asare

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