ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have directed member states sharing boundary with Mali to close their borders and seaports if the Malian coup leaders refused to restore constitutional order in the country.
The directive was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency mini-summit of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government on the Malian crisis in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The communiqué was made available by the ECOWAS Commission to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
The communiqué said that the directive would take effect from April 2 if the Malian junta refused to facilitate the immediate restoration of constitutional order in the country.
It stated that the emergency meeting was held after the delegation of six ECOWAS leaders that visited Bamako to mediate in the crisis could not land at the airport for security reasons.
The directive said that the borders would only be open for humanitarian purposes.
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government reviewed the decisions taken at their extraordinary summit held in Abidjan and adopted further sanctions against Mali, which will also take effect from April 2.
They directed that Mali’s membership of the sub-regional body be suspended, while all ECOWAS ambassadors accredited to Mali for consultation were to be recalled.
They also imposed a travel ban on members of the Malian junta and their associates within the ECOWAS region.
Besides, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government directed that the assets of the Malian military leaders and their associates in member states as well as the accounts of Mali, domiciled at the West African Central Bank, be frozen.
Similarly, movement of funds from the West African Central Bank to accounts held by the Malian State in private banks had been prohibited.
The ECOWAS authority also called for the suspension of Mali from participating in all sporting and cultural activities organised in ECOWAS member states.
The ECOWAS leaders called on the African Union (AU) to reinforce its sanctions against the Malian military leaders and their associates, while informing the Secretary General of the UN of the sanctions adopted by the sub-regional body.
On the rebellion in the northern part of Mali, the ECOWAS authority appealed to all the parties concerned to observe an immediate ceasefire and accept ECOWAS’ offer of mediation.
The ECOWAS leaders, however, reiterated their commitment to supporting Mali in efforts to defend its territorial integrity once constitutional order was restored.
They also said that President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso would be in charge of efforts to oversee the implementation of these measures.
``He (Compaore) will liaise with ECOWAS member states and the regional institutions referred to above for this purpose,” the leaders said in the communiqué.
The Presidents of Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Niger attended the emergency mini-summit.
President Goodluck Jonathan was represented by Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, the Minister of State (II) for Foreign Affairs, at the meeting. (NAN)