Mali’s Junta responds to ECOWAS, closes borders “on the basis of reciprocity”

Mali’s transitional leadership has responded to the tough sanctions issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during an extra-ordinary meeting in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Recall that, the regional body released new set of sanctions on Sunday with directives to member states to close all land and air borders with Mali, suspend non-essential financial transactions and freeze Malian state assets in ECOWAS central and commercial banks.

West Africa’s Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA) also directed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend the country with immediate effect with intent to ground the economy of Mali.

In response, the country’s leadership has condemned the sanctions as “illegal”. In a statement streamed on national television, Military spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said “the government of Mali strongly condemns these illegal and illegitimate sanctions.”

Commenting on the involvement of UEMOA, the junta said “the government of Mali regrets that West African sub-regional organizations are being manipulated by extra-regional powers with ulterior motives.”

The spokesman further revealed the decision of the junta to respond in equal measures. He stated that, “on the basis of reciprocity, Mali has decided to recall its ambassadors and close its land and air borders with the states concerned.”

The new sanctions from ECOWAS were triggered by a proposal by a junta backed forum to extend transitional mandate by five years as against demands by ECOWAS for elections to be held in February, 2022.

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