Junta Says Mali Faces 'total Embargo' From W.African Countries
Faizan Hashmi 3 days ago Thu 17th September 2020 | 12:40 AM
Bamako, Sept 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Sep, 2020 ) :The military junta that seized power in Mali last month said Wednesday that the country could face a "total embargo" from West African countries if it does not quickly appoint civilian leaders.
The putschists, who have vowed to hold fresh elections, on Wednesday appointed officials to lead the fragile country through the transition, spokesman Colonel Ismael Wague said.
West African leaders met with the junta's leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, for talks on the issue in Ghana on Tuesday.
ECOWAS called for a civilian-led transition government to be installed in Mali "in days", and said the bloc would lift its sanctions -- which include closed borders and a ban on trade and financial flows -- once the change has been made.
The spokesman made clear that the junta would prefer the transition be run by the military, and claimed that was also the preference of the majority of Malians following meetings with political parties and civil society groups last week.
ECOWAS had previously demanded that the transition last no more than 12 months, but has relented to the junta's request for 18 months.
"They even said that, for the moment, the sanctions are not yet severe," Wague said.
But if the junta insists on a military-led transition, "they are capable of imposing a total embargo, that is to say totally closing the borders -- nothing comes in, nothing goes out and we will suffocate quickly," he added.
The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.
It was these state failures that provoked people into the streets earlier this year, with months of protests and unrest building up to the military arresting the country's leaders and seizing control.