ADDIS ABABA – The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Sunday began a visit to West Africa as a stand-off between Mali and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) continues.
ECOWAS imposed tough sanctions on Mali earlier this month in response to delays in restoring civilian rule after a 2020 military coup, say media reports.
Mali was supposed to hold elections in February 2022, but the military-led government has pushed that back by up to 5 years, due to the continuing insecurity in its Northern region.
The sanctions include closure of members’ land and air borders with Mali, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions, and the freezing of Malian state assets in ECOWAS’ central and commercial banks – a move backed by the United States, the European Union and former colonial power France.
AUC Chief’s visit
Mahamat’s visit comes as hundreds of thousands of Malians took to the streets to protest against international sanctions that have isolated the nation.
The working visit of the Chairperson of the Commission includes two West African nations, according to the pan-African bloc.
He started his mission to west Africa in Ghana, the current chair of ECOWAS.
In Accra, the AU says the Chairperson plans to hold consultations with Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and current Chairman of ECOWAS.
Mahamat will continue his mission to Bamako, Mali, where he will hold consultations with the authorities of the Malian Transition and political and social actors in the country, it added.