ECOWAS Holds Meeting on Malian Coup
Western African leaders on Tuesday convened in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to discuss the situation of Mali, the country where a coup d’etat was staged last week. The leaders will discuss whether Mali will be suspended from the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS), days after it was suspended from the African Union, the 54-member organization that reunites all African nations in a continental body.
ECOWAS had an important saying in the resolution of the crisis in Ivory Coast, where president Laurent Gbagbo was removed from office in 2011 after loosing to Alassane Ouattara. ECOWAS vice president told the Voice of America that the organization wanted to preserve democracy, stability and peace in Mali after the coup last Thursday, when Captain Amadou Sanogo took power after toppling the president Amadou Toumani Tore.
The Captain took control of the country’s capital riding on a wave of dissatisfaction in the army related to the response the government has offered the Tuareg rebellion in the northern part of the country.
The Western African 15-member common body was among the organizations that condemned the coup in Mali and demanded the restoration of the democratic order. ECOWAS said that “military adventurism” cannot be tolerated.
On Monday the United States announced it would suspend some of its aid to Mali, in protest to the coup of the military. About $70 million in non-humanitarian assistance could be affected by this decision.
The United States said that the situation in the Western African state was very serious and that Mali must return to constitutionality and that it was unacceptable to have a military coup after so many democratic progresses have been made there.
On Monday the United Nations Security Council condemned the “mutinous troops” who staged the coup and demanded that they end violence and return to the barracks. UNSC also demanded that the presidential elections be held in April as it was scheduled.
The United States and the European Union announced that they continued to consider Amadou Toumani Ture as the president of Mali. Ture is expected to end his second term in office, the last permitted by the Constitution, a few weeks away from now.
Last Friday, coup leader Amadou Sanogo said that the ministers of the former cabinet were arrested and that they would stand trial. Speaking about the president Ture, Sanogo said that he was not harmed and that he was well. He did not say where he was.
An officer in Sanogo’s troops said on condition of anonymity that the former president was still having the protection of the troops assigned to him for this task. Sanogo said no soldier was on Ture’s side.
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union demanded the coup leader to stop the looting in the capital of the country, and to release the political prisoners during the coup. Concern was expressed about the fate of the Kenyan and Zimbabwean foreign ministers, who at the time were in the capital of Mali.
On Saturday, Amadou Sanogo offered an interview to the international media in which he said that he was in control of the entire territory and that he feared no countercoup. The gas stations, which had been closed during the coup because the soldiers were refilling without paying, and the life seemed to return to normal in the West African state.11