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Mali interim govt hopeful of imminent end to sanctions

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Transition Mali President Bah Ndaw is seen during his inauguration ceremony at the CICB (Centre International de Conferences de Bamako) in Bamako on September 25, 2020. – Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on September 25, 2020. (Photo by Michele Cattani / AFP)


The office of Mali’s interim president Bah Ndaw said Thursday that West African leaders may lift economic sanctions imposed against the country after a military coup in August.

Neighbours applied sanctions and shut borders to press the Sahel state to name interim civilian leaders after former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was toppled on August 18.

In response, the junta-appointed Ndaw, a retired colonel, as interim president. He will govern for a maximum of 18 months before staging elections.

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Ndaw also named former foreign minister Moctar Ouane as his prime minister on September 27 as part of the bid to meet the conditions set by the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc.

On Thursday, Ndaw met ECOWAS envoy Hamidou Boly in the capital Bamako, according to the interim presidency’s Twitter account.

Boly “suggested that the sanctions could soon be lifted,” the tweet said.

However, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has previously expressed other reservations about Mali’s post-coup government.

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Among them are the detention of political leaders arrested during the coup; the continuation of the junta as an entity; and a roadmap towards civilian rule — a document endorsed by the junta that ECOWAS wants to be made public.

ECOWAS is also uneasy about the position of junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita as interim vice president, whose role in government remains unclear as long as the roadmap remains unpublished.

A junta official told AFP that the document could be published soon.

The ECOWAS trade restrictions include a ban commercial trade and financial flows, but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.

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