By Spy Uganda Correspondent
As Malian authorities held a traditional military parade on Thursday to mark the country’s independence day in the presence of the head of Guinea´s military junta, Col Mamady Doumbouya, West African leaders were in a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
They agreed at the emergency summit to impose gradual sanctions on Guinea’s junta over its inflexibility in setting a date to return to civilian rule.
A meeting summary said that the leaders agreed on “gradual sanctions” on a list of people linked to the Guinean junta who will be identified “very soon” by the Bloc’s leadership.
The West Africa bloc has been struggling with a string of military coups in the region in the past two years.
Mali underwent coups in August 2020 and May 2021, followed by Guinea in September 2021 and Burkina Faso in January.
ECOWAS has lifted tough sanctions imposed on Mali’s military regime, accepting a March 2024 return to civilian rule.
But Mali and Guinea remain suspended from ECOWAS bodies.
ECOWAS had condemned the arrest of the Ivorian soldiers and had decided to send the presidents of Ghana, Togo and Senegal to Mali to obtain their release on Tuesday, September 27.
The sanctions come at a time when the junta in Guinea has launched a violent attack on the current president of ECOWAS further describing the organization as a “disgrace”.
In the attack on Thursday (September 22), the junta accused the ECOWAS president of practising “clown diplomacy.”
“The crude lie and the remarks which are similar to intimidation are nowadays retrograde practices which do not honour its author and tarnish at the same time the brand image of ECOWAS. We cannot bear this shame,” said Colonel Amara Camara, secretary general of the transitional presidency.
“We are not in a relationship of clowns or reality TV,” he added.
Colonel Camara blamed the current president of the Bissau-Guinean Umaro Sissoco Embalo, for his statements.
Embalo had warned that Guinea would face “heavy sanctions” if the junta, which came to power by force in September 2021, persisted in wanting to stay in power for three years.
He reaffirmed that during a visit to Guinea he had obtained an agreement with the junta to hand over to elected civilians after two years, which Colonel Camara described as a lie.