Colonel Assimi Goita
Mali’s ruling junta said it “strongly” condemned “illegal” sanctions imposed on the country by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
According to the military spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga in a statement of national television , he announced the recall of Bamako’s ambassadors to the West African nations involved and the closure of air and land borders with them.
The statement of the junta was a response to the new sanction placed by ECOWAS on Mali
ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Sunday imposed a range of economic and diplomatic measures against Mali, including border closures and a trade embargo, saying the junta’s intention to remain in power for several more years was “totally unacceptable”.
The meeting in Ghana of regional leaders followed months of increasing tensions over the timetable for restoring civilian rule in Mali after two coups and a military takeover.
“The government of Mali strongly condemns these illegal and illegitimate sanctions,” said the junta’s statement.
It accused ECOWAS and UEMOA of being “exploited by extra-regional powers with ulterior motives,” an apparent reference to Mali’s partners engaged militarily in the Sahel such as France, which has thousands of troops battling a jihadist insurgency.
The junta said it “deplores the inhuman nature of these measures which affect populations already severely affected by the security crisis and the health crisis.”
Faced with the West African embargo, the junta said it had made arrangements to ensure normal supplies “by all appropriate means” and called on the population to remain calm.