West Africa regional body ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Mali
West African regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced it has lifted economic sanctions that were imposed on Mali after a military coup d’etat.
The punitive sanctions, put in place after the overthrow of president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita were lifted on Tuesday as a supportive measure following the
“When we evaluated the situation, the act of the transition was effectively finalized. It was to have a civilian transition, with a civilian president,” Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of ECOWAS commission told RFI’s Bamako correspondent Serge Daniel.
Kassi Brou is referring to the retired Colonel Ban Ndaw, who was installed as interim president, as well as former foreign minister Moctar Ouane, who was named prime minister during the 18-month transition period.
Ndaw is expected to head the country with a view to go to elections at the end of the transition period.
While the stress was on placing civilians in government, four out of 25 posts in Ndaw’s cabinet went to military officials, including defense minister portfolio, taken up by fellow coup leader Colonel Sadio Camara.
Colonel Modibo Kone was appointed security and civil protection portfolio, and Colonel Ismael Wague becomes national reconciliation minister.
Prominent Malians were also named to the new government, including former prosecutor Mohamed Sidda Dicko as justice minister, and former ambassador to Saudi Arabia Zeini Moulaye as foreign affairs minister.
Three people from the protest movement that helped to push president Keita out were given ministerial posts as well.
ECOWAS called on the transitional government to release all those who had been detained due to the 18 August coup.
“It’s been practically 48 days that they’ve been in detention,” said Commission President Kassi Brou. “We’ve had the privilege to meet with them, they’re in good health, but obviously it is important that they are freed and can return to their own homes,” he added.
Thousands of Malians took to the streets earlier this year to protest a controversial election, as well as the troubling security situation.
Mali has dealt with an eight-year conflict with rebel groups and separatists in the north and has spread into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
In a rare move, the new government ordered the release of 100 jihadist prisoners last weekend, reportedly in an effort to free opposition politician Soumila Cissé and Sophie Pétronin, a 70-year-old French aid worker.
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