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Mali: EU sets up autonomous framework for sanctions against those obstructing the political transition

The Council today amended its sanctions regime in view of the situation in Mali, establishing new criteria that will allow the EU to autonomously impose restrictive measures on individuals and entities responsible for threatening the peace, security or stability of Mali, or for obstructing the implementation of its political transition. To date the EU has only been able to transpose into EU legislation the sanctions decided by the United Nations.

Today’s decision follows up on the agreement reached by the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 November 2021 to establish a dedicated framework for restrictive measures on Mali, in support of the decision taken on 7 November 2021 by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to impose sanctions on all Malian transition authorities and the other transition institutions.

EU restrictive measures will consist of a travel ban for individuals and the freezing of funds belonging to both individuals and entities. In addition, persons and entities in the EU will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly. Today’s decision merely sets up the new framework for autonomous EU measures; no individuals or entities are being listed at this stage, in line with EU’s gradual approach.

The EU continues to stand with the people of the Sahel and reaffirms its full commitment to strict compliance with the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law in Mali.

Background and next steps

On 24 and 25 May 2021, the European Council adopted conclusions in which it strongly condemned the coup d’état which took place in Mali on 24 May 2021 with the detention of the President of the Transition of Mali and the Prime Minister, and stated that the EU was ready to consider targeted measures against political and military leaders who obstructed the Malian transition.

On 29 June 2021, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2584 (2021), in which it further condemned the events of 24 May 2021 and called on all Malian stakeholders to facilitate the full realisation of the political transition and handover of power to elected civilian authorities within the 18-month transition period. It also called on Mali’s transitional government to hold free and fair presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for 27 February 2022, along with regional and local elections and a constitutional referendum, as appropriate, within that 18-month time frame.

On 7 November 2021, ECOWAS said it highly deplored the lack of progress made in the preparations for the elections, decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect against identified individuals and groups, including all transition authorities and the other transition institutions, and called on international partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.

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