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West African leaders on Monday morning announced the lifting of sanctions against the military regime in Mali many months after several sanctions were slammed down on the military junta who had seized power.
The heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had met in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and accepted a proposal by the Malian military to hold elections and return to civilian rule by March 2024.
After military officers carried out two coups in less than a year, in August 2020 and May 2021, the alliance imposed devastating economic sanctions.
The block also confirmed the acceptance of a two-year timetable for the restoration of democracy in Burkina Faso, but told Guinea, a third country which has witnessed a military takeover, it would face economic sanctions unless it could speed up its proposed three-year transition back to democracy.
Africa Daily News, New York recalls that the meeting of West African leaders two months ago ended with a deadlock on what action to take against military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, postponing a decision for a month, insiders at the meeting have confirmed.
The leaders opted to wait until the next ECOWAS summit on July 3, a senior source in the Ghanian presidency told reporters, asking to remain anonymous.
Another source said the leaders had not been able to agree, ‘particularly over Mali’.
The summit in Ghana’s capital Accra had been billed as the forum to agree on whether to ease or ramp up sanctions against the three junta-ruled nations facing jihadist insurgencies.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had met in a bid to rule whether to keep, lighten or lift retaliatory measures on Mali, imposed in January after its military regime announced plans to stay in power for another five years.