West African bloc may lift Mali sanctions soon, says envoy

By Tiemoko Diallo BAMAKO (Reuters) - West African leaders may lift painful economic sanctions against Mali once an interim president is inaugurated on Friday in the wake of the Aug.

Reuters September 24, 2020 03:10:43 IST
West African bloc may lift Mali sanctions soon, says envoy

West African bloc may lift Mali sanctions soon says envoy

By Tiemoko Diallo

BAMAKO (Reuters) - West African leaders may lift painful economic sanctions against Mali once an interim president is inaugurated on Friday in the wake of the Aug. 18 military coup, the bloc's envoy said, praising the junta's leadership.

The comments suggest the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could accept the candidates picked this week to lead the transition of power, although they do not have the fully civilian background the bloc had demanded.

The easing of sanctions would be a relief for Mali, whose imports have slumped 30% since its neighbours closed borders and halted financial flows after the ouster of President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita.

"I am very happy with what is happening now in Mali. The young soldiers who have taken power are doing a job in line with what the (ECOWAS) leaders wanted," said Nigeria's former president, Goodluck Jonathan, after landing in Bamako for talks as head of a delegation from the bloc.

It had not previously been clear if ECOWAS would agree with Monday's nomination of former defence minister and retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president, particularly as the leader of the junta that seized power, Colonel Assimi Goita, is set to be vice president.

But Jonathan told journalists: "I hope that after the inauguration of the president on Friday the sanctions will be lifted."

International powers feared the coup could further destabilise the country and undermine a joint fight against Islamist insurgents there and in the wider Sahel region.

Underscoring the insecurity, three Malian soldiers were killed on Wednesday when militants ambushed their patrol in Mopti region near the border with Burkina Faso, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Malian Council of Shippers said the country faced economic crisis if the ECOWAS sanctions were not eased.

"In the coming days stocks will be exhausted, and we will see supply disruptions, production stoppages, layoffs, a paralysis of economic activity," the group's president, Ousmane Babalaye Daou, said in an interview with Reuters.

Mali imports 5 million tonnes of goods every year, from woven cotton to cement, some of which arrive at ports across West Africa and are trucked hundred of miles inland.

Stockpiles have cushioned the blow so far, but new orders from Asia or Europe take up to two months to arrive, Daou said.

Essential imports, including petrol, food and medicine, are exempt.

(Reporting By Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; Writing by Edward McAllister and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Bate Felix, Matthew Lewis and Marguerita Choy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.