The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday set a deadline of 12 to 16 months for Mali’s military transitional government to arrange elections.
West Africa’s main political and economic bloc also offered Guinea’s ruling junta a month to propose a democratic transition timeline and asked Burkina Faso’s interim leaders to reduce a proposed transition of 36 months to a “more acceptable timeline”.
The bloc’s Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou told a news conference after a summit in Accra.
Since August 2020, the region has been rocked by two coups in Mali, one in Guinea and one in Burkina Faso.
In a bid to bring power back into civilian hands, the 15-nation ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Guinea and Mali for dragging their feet on restoring constitutional order.
Kassi Brou said those measures would be gradually lifted in Mali if its leaders respected the 12- to 16-month ultimatum. Harsher penalties will hit Guinea if it misses its own April 25 deadline, he warned.
“We have no idea when the transition [in Guinea] will end and this creates tensions in the region and inside the country,” he said.
Since the ouster of President Alpha Conde in September, Guinea has yet to lay out handover plans.
In February, Mali’s interim government failed to hold promised elections and first said it would keep ruling until at least 2025, which was then revised down to 24 months.
Burkina Faso’s junta, which took over in January, has proposed relinquishing power after three years.
The Sanctions on Mali contributed to its default on about $180 million in debt payments.
Burkina Faso, may face sanctions if the junta does not release ex-President Roch Kabore from house arrest within the next month, Kassi Brou said.