By Tiemoko Diallo
BAMAKO – Mali’s government has asked the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to lift sanctions that will have severe consequences for the population, it said on Monday.
West Africa’s 15-nation ECOWAS bloc and the UEMOA regional monetary union both imposed sanctions on Mali on Jan. 9 after the military junta that first seized power in a 2020 coup decided to delay a national election.
The UEMOA, which has eight member countries including Mali, instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali with immediate effect.
Mali blamed the sanctions for $31 million in bond defaults last week.
The government said in a statement released Monday that it had never been formally notified of the sanctions by UEMOA, which it said were a violation of procedure, calling the measures “disproportionate, inhumane, illegitimate and illegal”.
“The Malian government urges UEMOA to comply with community rules and therefore to lift, in a spirit of justice, equity and solidarity, these inappropriate sanctions which will have severe, inevitable socio-economic consequences for the populations of Mali and of the West African sub-region,” the statement said.
UEMOA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mali’s 2020 coup was followed by a second one in May last year, as well as coups in Guinea and Burkina Faso. ECOWAS also imposed financial sanctions on Guinea’s coup leaders, but stopped short in Burkina Faso where it said the military junta was willing to work towards a return to constitutional order.
Mali was hit with the harshest measures after its military leadership went back on an agreement to organise elections this month and instead proposed holding power until 2025.
The European Union has imposed sanctions on Mali’s transitional prime minister and members of interim president Assimi Goita’s inner circle.