The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Monday announced in a press conference that it lifted sanctions on Mali and Burkina Faso. ECOWAS previously imposed economic sanctions on both states in January due to political coups, turmoil and concerns over the loss of democratic rule.
The sanctions were lifted after the Junta agreed to a 24-month democratic transition. This change means Mali’s borders will re-open, and its representatives will be able to observe and be present for ECOWAS meetings. However, according to ECOWAS Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou, “the heads of state decided to maintain individual sanctions, and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS, until the return to constitutional rule.”
Burkina Faso’s proposal was also accepted according to Brou, who said “[t]he authority of Burkina Faso have made a new proposal which is now to have the transition in Burkina last for 24 months, starting July 1st.”
A similar sanction release proposal from Guinea was rejected. Guinea’s junta previously asked for a three-year transition but it was rejected.
Mali has defaulted on it’s nearly $300 million in debt due to the sanctions.