Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mali: ECOWAS threatens to re-impose sanction on military officials

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has said it will re-impose sanctions on officials who led a coup in Mali in March, on grounds of them thwarting a return to constitutional rule. Back in April, ECOWAS lifted sanctions after the coup leaders agreed to return power to a civilian government, but in a recent statement the bloc said the junta was still interfering in the country's politics.

ECOWAS objects to the junta's plans to replace interim President Djouncounda Traore. Speaker of parliament Traore was sworn in as part of the deal under which the military would return the country to civilian rule. Coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo has called for a national assembly of civil society groups to appoint a new interim government once Traore's term officially ends on 22 May.

ECOWAS wants Traore to continue to lead the interim government for another year. The bloc released a statement, saying: "Failure on the part of the (junta) and their civilian allies to clearly reaffirm their commitment to the transitional arrangement in the next few days will be met with the immediate reinstatement of the targeted sanctions."

In March, a group of army officers led by Capt Sanogo toppled President Amadou Amani Toure, saying he did little to curb the Tuareg-led rebellion in the north. After ECOWAS imposed sanctions, the coup leaders agreed to start a transition back to civilian rule, and parliamentary speaker Traore was sworn in as interim president.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, AP

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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