SNAPSHOTS

West Africa Sanctions Mali Over Delayed Polls. But at What Cost?

MIN READJan 11, 2022 | 16:02 GMT

Colonel Assimi Goita (center) sits between other Malian military leaders during a meeting with an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation on Aug. 22, 2020. Goita seized power for the second time in a May 2021 coup.

Colonel Assimi Goita (center) sits between other Malian military leaders during a meeting with an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation on Aug. 22, 2020. Goita seized power for the second time in a May 2021 coup.

(ANNIE RISEMBERG/AFP via Getty Images)

Mali’s alienation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will likely deepen its reliance on Russia, which will further reduce the likelihood of imminent democratic elections, increase economic hardship and pose risks to ongoing counterterrorism operations in the country. Following Malian officials’ announcement that elections scheduled for February 2022 will be delayed by five years, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened in Accra, Ghana, on Jan. 9 in an emergency session. The regional bloc subsequently announced a slew of sanctions against Mali, including closing borders, severing diplomatic ties, freezing state assets in ECOWAS commercial banks, suspending all non-essential financial transactions and recalling ambassadors from Bamako. A spokesperson for the Malian interim President said that in response, Mali will close its land borders with neighboring ECOWAS states (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger and Senegal). ECOWAS officials said that they will not lift sanctions unless Malian...

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