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Mali Military Junta Strongly Condemns ECOWAS Sanctions

Channels Television  
Updated January 10, 2022
The Malian flag is hoisted during the handover ceremony of the Barkhane military base from the French to the Malian army in Timbuktu, on December 14, 2021. FLORENT VERGNES / AFP

 

Mali’s ruling junta said it “strongly” condemned “illegal” sanctions imposed on the country by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In a statement read on national television Monday, the military regime’s spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga announced the recall of Bamako’s ambassadors to the West African nations involved and the closure of air and land borders with them.

ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Sunday imposed a range of economic and diplomatic measures against Mali, including border closures and a trade embargo, saying the junta’s intention to remain in power for several more years was “totally unacceptable”.

The meeting in Ghana of regional leaders followed months of increasing tensions over the timetable for restoring civilian rule in Mali after two coups and a military takeover.

“The government of Mali strongly condemns these illegal and illegitimate sanctions,” said the junta’s statement.

It accused ECOWAS and UEMOA of being “exploited by extra-regional powers with ulterior motives,” an apparent reference to Mali’s partners engaged militarily in the Sahel such as France, which has thousands of troops battling a jihadist insurgency.

The junta said it “deplores the inhuman nature of these measures which affect populations already severely affected by the security crisis and the health crisis.”

Faced with the West African embargo, the junta said it had made arrangements to ensure normal supplies “by all appropriate means” and called on the population to remain calm.