crucial ECOWAS summit in Accra

The West African organization had postponed until July 3 the decisions related to the sanctions to be lifted or taken for Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso. The three countries have doubled their efforts in recent weeks to prove their goodwill.

From our special correspondent in Accra

For Guinea, Burkina Faso and Mali, the ECOWAS summit, which opens this Sunday in Accra, is crucial. The first two cities are indeed under threat of possible economic sanctions, the three-year transition they are proposing before the return to constitutional order is considered far too long by the heads of state in the sub-region.

For Mali, it is the opposite. Bamako hopes so the economic and financial sanctions that have affected it since 9 January last will finally be lifted. The disappointments of previous summits call for caution, but whether it is among West African diplomatic sources or on the side of Malian leaders, optimism prevails ahead of the summit.

A possible compromise It must be said that the Malian transitional authorities have doubled their efforts to show their commitment not to stay in power forever. At the beginning of the week, they announced in particular the calendar for future municipal, regional (June 2023), legislative (October 2023) and especially presidential elections (February 2024) which will mark the end of the transition period, in March 2024.

Read also: Bamako is working hard to get the sanctions lifted at the Accra summit

This is a longer period than the original requirements of ECOWAS – as opposed to an extension of the transition beyond 16 months – but which may be enough to reach a compromise. Especially since Bamako has also appointed a commission responsible for drafting the new constitution, initiated a dialogue with the political class that has been demanding it for a long time and even adopted a new electoral law.

According to Malian election experts, however, this law may allow a candidacy for the current interim president, Colonel Assimi Goïta. On this home journey, Bamako and ECOWAS also discussed in particular the monitoring mechanism to be introduced at the end of the transitional period.

Last major question: the extent of the lifting of sanctions which, if adopted, could not be total, but progressive, depending on the concretisation of Malian commitments.

The situation is more tense in Guinea The situation is more tense for Guinea. The transitional authorities have finally started a dialogue with the political class, but the main formations do not consider it credible. The legal proceedings against former Alpha Condé officials, the ban on demonstrations and, in particular, the announced three-year delay before the election campaign continue to worry the heads of state in the sub-region who have already threatened to impose economic sanctions on the country, in addition to the already imposed sanctions. against the leaders of the military transition.

In the case of Burkina, if ECOWAS remains concerned about the deterioration of security in the territory and continues to reject the three years required by the new authorities before the elections, the dialogue is considered satisfactory and may arouse more tolerance on the part of the West African organization.

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