The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in extraordinary session on Thursday to consider the situation in the West African nations of Guinea and Mali, imposing sanctions on individuals from both countries.
Both nations have experienced coups—Mali in May and Guinea earlier this month. The heads of state and other ministers who were present at the session heard reports regarding the coup in Guinea and the situation in Mali. After some deliberation, the session reiterated “its unreserved condemnation” of the coup in Guinea and called again “for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Conde.” It also reminded the coup leaders that they are responsible for Conde’s safety.
Concerned with the resurgence of coups in the continent, ECOWAS decided to suspend Guinea from all ECOWAS bodies until constitutional order is restored, set sanctions and travel bans not only on members of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD)—the group that organized the coup—but also on their family members, and called upon the African Union, the EU, and the UN to support the sanctions. They also set a deadline for presidential and legislative elections in Guinea in six months, including a demand that no member of the CNRD be allowed to stand for president.
ECOWAS also “remains deeply concerned about the slow pace of preparations for the elections” in Mali, which the new Malian authorities had pledged to hold in February 2022. However, Mali has already missed key deadlines for voter roll updates and a new constitution. ECOWAS called upon the transitional authorities to submit a timetable for the elections by the end of October. They also decided to impose targeted sanctions upon those “whose actions have a negative impact on the transition timetable.” They also called for respect for the rule of law and human rights in the face of continued arrest and detention of political and opposition leaders.
The statement concluded by reaffirming “that the consolidation of democracy and good governance is crucial for the development, peace and stability of the region.” Following the meeting, Senegal President Macky Sall tweeted his praise for “the strong decisions of the summit to safeguard democracy, peace, security and stability in the region.”