Mali said on Monday it regretted sanctions imposed by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS on some members of the ruling junta which staged two military coups in less than a year.
Mali was rocked by coups in August 2020 and May 2021 and swathes of the vast desert nation country are not under government control due to a jihadist insurgency that emerged in the north in 2012.
The Economic Community of West African States sanctions “do not sufficiently take into account the deep aspirations of the Malian people and the efforts made on a daily basis by the transition authorities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The government regrets the decisions taken” at a weekend ECOWAS summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, it said.
ECOWAS on Sunday called on the junta to honour a timetable for a return to democracy and “decided to sanction all those implicated in the delay” in organising elections set for February 27.
Mali has “officially written” to Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation ECOWAS, to inform him that the Sahel country could not hold elections as planned.
The sanctions against members of the transition government will take immediate effect and travel bans and assets freezes target family members as well.
In a final declaration following Sunday’s summit, ECOWAS said it “highly deplores the lack of progress” towards staging elections in Mali.
It threatened to impose additional sanctions at a new meeting on December 12 “if the situation persists”.