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France, US, Algeria pile pressure on sanctions-hit Mali

12 January 2022, The EastAfrican
France, US, Algeria pile pressure on sanctions-hit Mali

Pressure on Mali's junta increased Tuesday as France and the United States underlined their support for the West African bloc Ecowas, which has slapped sanctions on the country over delayed elections following two coups.

In a sharp escalation after months of diplomatic tensions, leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) on Sunday agreed to shutter borders with the Sahel state and impose a trade embargo.

The move came after Mali's interim government last month proposed staying in power for up to five years before staging elections -- despite international demands that it respect a promise to hold elections on February 27.

As well as shutting borders and imposing a trade embargo, Ecowas also agreed to halt financial aid to Mali and freeze its assets at the Central Bank of West African States.

Mali's junta has condemned the measures, and urged Malians to stage nationwide demonstrations against them on Friday.

But France, Mali's former colonial power which also holds the European Union's rotating presidency, backed the sanctions.
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