ECOWAS to discuss sanctions against Malian junta

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will meet today to deliberate their combined stance on the situation

Mali Reuters

Photo: Reuters

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will meet today to deliberate their combined stance on the situation in Mali.

The meeting follows a coup on August 18 and the junta’s announcement that it will institute a military-led transitional body for three years to recalibrate Mali’s state mechanisms. The detention of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other political leaders has been categorically condemned by ECOWAS and the international community. ECOWAS has already suspended Mali from the bloc and imposed sanctions against the coup leaders.

Although the junta enjoys popular support, ECOWAS is concerned about the precedence set for similar power grabs in the Sahel region especially in the midst of a jihadist resurgence and flailing economic conditions. Ultimately, Keita’s administration is merely symptomatic of a political culture of weak institutions and malleable democratic mores that needs to be addressed. ECOWAS is expected to take a hard stance in rejecting any proposal for an interim military state, which would contradict a democratic transition of power. However, ongoing post-coup negotiations have proven fruitful and extracted a promise to release the imprisoned leaders. While this appears hopeful, it is worth noting that the junta has been and is likely to continue negotiating from a position of relative strength.

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