The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has closed regional borders with Mali and slapped a new round of sanctions on Bamako, after the country’s interim military government sought to postpone elections it pledged to hold in February, as part of the country’s return to civilian rule following a 2020 military coup.
Sunday’s announcement followed an extraordinary summit of the bloc’s 15 leaders held in Accra to discuss a proposal by Mali’s provisional government for a five-year transition plan that would culminate with a presidential election scheduled for February 2026. That would be four years after the date Mali’s ruling junta initially agreed to with the West African regional group.
In a communique, ECOWAS rejected Bamako’s transition proposal, describing it as “totally unacceptable,” while reiterating the body’s longstanding call for a national election, as well as “an expeditious return to constitutional order” and institutional reforms to supplement civilian rule. ECOWAS imposed additional sanctions on Bamako, including the closure of members’ land and air borders with Mali, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions and the freezing of Malian assets in regional central and commercial banks.