ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Mali, agrees on Burkina Faso transition plan

ECOWAS flags are pictured during an emergency summit of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on December 24, 2010,PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/Getty Images

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday lifted sanctions on Mali’s military regime, agreeing to a March 2024 return to civilian rule. The bloc also agreed to give Burkina Faso two years for its transition back to democracy.

In response, the AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in a statement hailed the agreements, noting that the continental body was looking forward to a return to democracy in the two countries.

“This is an opportunity for me to salute the leadership of the ECOWAS Heads of State who tirelessly seek to concretize this doctrine through constant and determined efforts to build a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and peaceful region,” said Mahamat.

“The persevering steps that you are pursuing in supporting the ongoing political transitions reassure us about the inevitable return of constitutional order in the countries concerned.”

Part of the agreement prescribes that no military junta member participates in Mali’s future presidential election.

The two-year timeline for a return to civilian rule in Burkina Faso was also approved after an ECOWAS official again visited Ouagadougou.