ECOWAS suspends Mali’s membership until democracy restored

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Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Mali from the sub-regional bloc until the restoration of democratic rule in the country hit by a political turmoil, an official said.

Addressing the media on Sunday on behalf of the heads of state after their one-day extraordinary summit in Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, said that Mali had been tasked to keep to the transitional timetable and restore the country to democratic rule by next February, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The heads of state decided to go according to the treaty of democracy and good governance, to suspend Mali from ECOWAS with immediate effect,” said Botchway.

At the same time, she said the leadership of the Nigeria-based sub-regional bloc would work with Mali to ensure that the transition remains on track toward the end goal of returning Mali to democratic rule by February 2022.

Botchway, who is also Ghana’s Foreign Minister, added that another decision of the heads of state was that “within the next few days Mali should appoint a civilian Prime Minister to guide the transitional process.”

“The leaders are also asking the international community to continue to engage Mali to ensure that they do not derail the transitional process. The coup in Mali is something ECOWAS frowns upon because it has repercussions for the rest of West Africa,” Botchway added.

The ECOWAS summit was summoned after Colonel Assimi Goita, who led a military coup in the West African nation of Mali last week, was named the interim President.

Bah N’Daw, president of the transition government, and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were forced to resign from their positions after being detained for several days following the coup.

The coup was staged after the military’s anger over a cabinet reshuffle that saw two senior military officers stripped of their positions.

–IANS

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