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Buhari seeks stiffer sanctions for Malian junta

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Colonel Assimi Goita (C-L) speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako, Mali, on August 19, 2020 after confirming his position as the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). The military junta that took power in Mali on August 19, 2020, asked that the population resume “its activities” and cease “vandalism” the day after the coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his government. MALIK KONATE / AFP

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, called for stiffer sanctions against the military administration in Mali, describing the events that led to their forceful takeover as a great setback for regional diplomacy with grave consequences for the peace and security of West Africa.

“The action of the military in Mali has, regrettably, foisted on us as a sub-region, the need to decide the options that will be consistent with the provisions of the Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, which ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), AU (African Union), and the UN (United Nations) subscribe to,” he stated.

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The Nigerian leader, therefore, urged ECOWAS to sustain “sufficient pressures on the mutineers to force a return to the status quo.”

Buhari spoke in Abuja via a virtual meeting where he joined ECOWAS Heads of State and Government seeking the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and restoration of constitutional order in the landlocked nation.

He pointed out that Keita’s removal could degenerate to threaten the peaceful coexistence of the sub-region.

“Indeed, it saddens me greatly as we meet today (yesterday) to discuss the turn of events in Mali, which commenced on Tuesday this week, where President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, his Prime Minister and senior members of his government were arrested, resulting in the forceful resignation of the president as well as the dissolution of the parliament,” Buhari lamented.

He commended UN, AU and other international bodies for condemning the putsch, urging them to support ECOWAS in restoring peace and order in the embattled country.

Buhari continued: “I am pleased that ECOWAS, AU, UN and others issued strongly worded statements against the action of the Malian military. The events in Mali are great setbacks for regional diplomacy, which have grave consequences for the peace and security of West Africa. I am pleased therefore, that this Extraordinary Summit, holding to discuss pathways to the debacle we face today in Mali, is most timely and appropriate.

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“We need to isolate series of sanctions that can create and sustain sufficient pressures on the military to force a return to the status quo. The critical issues for resolution in the Malian crisis had been aptly captured as the four-point pathway to peace.

“Within that context, and if all parties to the crisis were to abide by those recommendations, the developments now on ground would have been avoided.”

The President pledged Nigeria’s continued support for ECOWAS decisions.

He also solidarised with his Nigerien counterpart, Mahamadou Issoufou, over the tragic attack his country suffered earlier this month, commending the ECOWAS chairman for his intervention in Mali.

However, the Special Envoy to the beleaguered country and Nigeria’s ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan and chairman of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, are to convey the decisions of the West African leaders to the mutineers in Bamako.

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