Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Bloc in sanctions warning to junta

Two soldiers loyal to junta chief Capt Amadou Sanogo load their weapons, including a machine gun, onto a taxi (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)

West Africa's regional bloc has threatened to re-impose sanctions on Mali, saying that the junta's actions "appear clearly designed to disrupt the political transition" after a coup in the West African nation.

The statement came as Mali's junta leader declared that the country would hold a national convention to choose a leader to rule until elections can be organised.

One of the key points of disagreement now between the junta and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) is who should be president of Mali once the current interim president's term ends May 22.

Ecowas would like the interim president to remain; junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo has said that this decision can not be imposed on them.

"The Ecowas Commission has observed with deep concern the worrying statements and actions emanating from members of the (junta) and their civilian associates in the last few days," said a statement from Ecowas.

The statement warned that Mali would again face sanctions if the putschists do not alter its behaviour.

"Failure on the part of the (junta) and their civilian allies to clearly reaffirm their commitment to the transitional arrangement in the next few days ... will be met with the immediate reinstatement of the targeted sanctions," the statement said.

Ecowas imposed heavy sanctions on Mali shortly after the March 21 coup, but lifted the measures a few days later when the junta agreed in principle to return the country to constitutional rule.

Capt Sanogo summoned reporters to military barracks to announce the national convention, which he said would include representatives from all segments of Malian society. "The main goal of this convention will be to choose the man or woman who will become president of Mali," Capt Sanogo said.

The interim president was sworn in after an agreement between the junta and Ecowas last month.

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