Mali takes legal action against ‘illegal’ monetary sanctions in West Africa

BAMAKO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Mali has filed a lawsuit seeking the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West African monetary union, lawyers for the country’s ruling military junta said on Monday as it fighting a debt crisis that threatens to destroy the economy.

On January 9, the eight-nation regional monetary authority, UEMOA, asked all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali with immediate effect after the junta – which overthrew the president in a coup state in 2020 – reneged on its promise to hold early elections. Read more

The WAEMU action cut off Mali’s access to regional financial markets and was taken in conjunction with sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which froze Malian state assets, closed its borders and suspended non-essential financial transactions.

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Lawyers for the junta said they filed two complaints on February 15 with the WAEMU Court of Justice, the first requesting the repeal of the WAEMU sanctions and the second the suspension of their application due to the negative impact on the population.

In a press release, the lawyers spoke without explanation of the “absolute illegality” of the sanctions.

WAEMU officials, whom Mali had already asked earlier this month to lift sanctions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Read more

Mali has defaulted on more than 54 billion CFA francs ($93 million) in loan repayments since January due to sanctions, and workers are starting to feel the pressure as mass layoffs take hold. Read more

The junta also faces the prospect of losing support from French forces that have since 2013 coordinated a multinational mission fighting an Islamist insurgency in Mali and the wider Sahel region.

Relations between Paris and Bamako have deteriorated since the junta extended its grip on power, and France announced last week that it would withdraw its forces from the country. Read more

The junta’s use of Russian private military contractors has also angered other European countries involved in military missions led by France and others.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, who chairs the African Union, said on Monday that European troops were still needed in Mali.

Sall spoke in Dakar during a visit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said Germany would take into account the advice of regional security experts when deciding in the coming months whether to stay or withdraw. remove.

($1 = 580.2100 CFA francs)

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Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Additional reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly in Abidjan and Bate Felix in Dakar; Written by Nellie Peyton; edited by John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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