News

ECOWAS Imposes Sanctions on Mali

Delegates attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit dedicated to the recent military coup in Mali, on April 2, 2012, in Dakar.
Delegates attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit dedicated to the recent military coup in Mali, on April 2, 2012, in Dakar.
Anne Look

The Economic Community of West African States has imposed severe financial and diplomatic sanctions on Mali as it continues to call for a return to constitutional order in the country.  Soldiers who seized power in Mali late last month have so far refused to step aside.  An emergency ECOWAS summit was held Monday in Dakar, Senegal.

Effective immediately, ECOWAS has closed borders between Mali and member states.  Mali no longer has access to its neighbor's seaports.  The West African monetary union has cut off currency flow to Mali, which uses the regional CFA franc, and frozen the nation's assets.  ECOWAS has also imposed travel bans on junta members and frozen their personal assets.

Monday marked the end of the 72-hour grace period ECOWAS had given to the junta to hand power back to civilians.

The Tuareg Uprising

  • Tuaregs are an ethnically Berber, nomadic people in West Africa's Sahel and Sahara regions.
  • Tuareg fighters have staged multiple uprisings in Mali and Niger for greater autonomy.
  • Current Mali rebellion began in January after Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they fought for Moammar Gadhafi.
  • The conflict has driven about 100,000 Malians to neighboring countries, internally displaced more than 90,000.
  • Losses to Tuaregs prompted soldiers' coup in Bamako Thursday March 22.
Source:Encyclopedia Brittanica, ICRC, France 24

At the emergency meeting on Mali in Dakar Monday, Ivorian president and current ECOWAS head Alassane Ouattara said the military junta should step aside and return power to recognized constitutional authorities.

He said, however, the fate of ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure would depend on ongoing negotiations between the regional bloc and the junta.  Mr. Toure is currently in an undisclosed location near the capital under the protection of his presidential guard.

The sanctions will likely suffocate the landlocked country, which imports many of its daily necessities, including petrol.  ECOWAS says the sanctions will be in place until the military junta complies with the regional bloc's demands.

Disgruntled soldiers overthrew President Toure on March 22.  The soldiers said the government had not adequately equipped them to fight Tuareg rebels in the north, including former pro-Qaddafi fighters who had returned heavily armed from the conflict in Libya.

Tuareg rebels, and a splinter group of Islamist extremists, have taken advantage of the chaos caused by the military coup to push south.  Since Friday, they have seized three key northern strongholds, essentially giving them control of the northern half of the country.

President Ouattara says ECOWAS member states will issue statements condemning the rebellion and warning rebels to stop their advance.  He says ECOWAS is immediately putting a military force on standby.  He says ECOWAS military chiefs will meet this week in Abidjan to prepare the activation of this force.

ECOWAS is calling on Mali's constitutional government, once restored, to immediately open dialogue with the rebels with the aim of preserving the country's territorial integrity.

Junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo announced Sunday that he was reinstating the constitution and would hold elections, though he did not specify a date.

President Ouattara called the measures "a step in the right direction" but said concrete action must still be taken.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs