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    ECOWAS To Proceed With Mali Sanctions, Says Official

    Iman Amadoun Diko (C), highly influential head of the High Council of Islam, arrives for a rally organized to calm the political situation down in Mali, at Modibo Keita stadium in Bamako, March 31, 2012.
    Iman Amadoun Diko (C), highly influential head of the High Council of Islam, arrives for a rally organized to calm the political situation down in Mali, at Modibo Keita stadium in Bamako, March 31, 2012.

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    • Clottey interview with Dr. Remi Ajibewa, head of political affairs and international cooperation for ECOWAS,

    Peter Clottey

    A senior official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says Mali faces stiff economic and diplomatic sanctions for failing to abide by the regional bloc’s 72-hour deadline, which expires Monday.

    Remi Ajibewa, head of political affairs and international cooperation for ECOWAS, dismissed as a publicity stunt the junta’s announcement restoring Mali’s suspended constitution.

    Military leader Captain Amadou Sanogo Sunday vowed to return power to civilians but he did not indicate a timeline to organize elections in the West African nation.

    Ajibewa said the ECOWAS sanctions will therefore proceed as originally planned.

    “This is a deliberate and calculated attempt on the part of the junta,” said Ajibewa.

    “He is just saying this to pre-empt the 72-hours that have been the ultimatum. It is only when it is seen and done that we can actually know that he has taken the right step. The things he said [are] just propaganda.”

    Sanctions

    ECOWAS said it is suspending Mali’s membership from the group and has put its standby military force on high alert to be deployed as the last resort. Ajibewa said the group will Monday begin imposing political and economic sanctions which include:

    1) Recalling all of its accredited ambassadors, and a travel ban on members of the junta and their associates within the ECOWAS territory.

    2) Closing all borders between ECOWAS member states and Mali, except for humanitarian purposes.

    3) Freezing the assets of the leaders of the junta and their associates.

    4) Denying Mali access to seaports.

    5) Freezing the accounts of Mali held at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

    6) Denying the procurement of funds from BCEAO to accounts held by the Malian State in private banks.

    7) Freezing all financial assistance to Mali through the West African Bank for Development (BOAD) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

    8) Suspending Mali from participating in all sporting and cultural events in the ECOWAS space.

    Ajibewa said both the African Union and the United Nations support the ECOWAS’ efforts to ensure Mali soon returns to constitutional rule.

    Negotiations

    Ajibewa said ECOWAS is prepared to enter into dialogue with Mali’s military regime with the aim of ensuring an immediate return to constitutional rule.

    “We are open to negotiations,” said Ajibewa. “The junta is in contact with the mediator of the Malian crisis. Though the junta has asked for ECOWAS to understand their plight, these are just mere words. We are still insisting on that 72 hours [ultimatum].”

    Ajibewa said the mediator, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, will ensure Mali’s military ruler complies with ECOWAS’s demands.

    Dismissed Plea

    Over the weekend, junta leaders visited Mr. Compaore in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, where they asked for help to combat the Tuareg rebellions.  But Compaore rejected the request and urged them to restore constitutional order.

    The Tuareg rebels took control of the historic town of Timbuktu Sunday, which was the last major city in the north that was under the military's control.

    Ajibewa said the junta miscalculated by overthrowing President Amadou Toumani Toure’s administration.

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    Comments
         
    by: ekbensah@ekbensah.net
    April 02, 2012 5:23 AM
    Kwame. Interesting post, but I whole-heartedly disagree with your point about "ECOWAS [being] a decoy to draw us from real political continental union". ECOWAS has been around since 1975, and the AU has been around since 1963!! What's this about a decoy? Get back to your history books and read about the African Economic Community of 1991, which is the defact blueprint for continental union by 2034. The idea is not for AU and ECOWAS to do things separately but TOGETHER.

    by: Kwame
    April 01, 2012 9:15 PM
    We all know why America and her allies do not want Africa to be united . We know that ECOWAS is a decoy to draw us from real political continental union. A united Africa will be far more superior than America and her allies. They could pinpoint and bomb Gaddafi's convoy but failed to see the weapons that were leaving Libya to Mali. African leaders cannot figure this out. . NATO and their hypocrisy is now evident. You have fooled your puppets but not the revolutionary youth of Africa!

    by: Peace Corps Mali Volunteer
    April 01, 2012 6:44 PM
    While a coup might conjure frightful images of large-scale chaos, the general atmosphere has been calm enough that many Malians who interact daily with PCVs are perplexed we must be consolidated at all. That PC was quick to consolidate us at any hint of trouble gave me confidence we won't be put in harm's way. We're doing good work in Mali, work appreciated by our host communities, work that makes us proud. Abandoning our efforts when we don't have to would greatly distress many Volunteers.

    by: Peace Corp Mom
    April 01, 2012 2:36 PM
    If ll of this is happening, why is the US not demanding hat Peace Corps evacuates their volunteers? Send my daughter home before it s too late!

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