ECOWAS Chairman, Akufo-Addo and Malian military leader Col Assimi Goita - Photo by David Andoh

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has hinted at a possible return of the Malian government to civilian rule in a matter of days amid threats to impose restrictions should push come to shove.

President Akufo-Addo, who doubles as the Chairman of the bloc, after Tuesday’s meeting explained that talks with the head of Mali’s new military junta, Col Assimi Goita was progressive.

Credit: David Andoh

An earlier ultimatum set by the leaders for a handover by close of day September 15 was not met as Col. Assimi Goita leaves the shores of Ghana for Bamako.

But President Akufo-Addo told the press after the meeting that the military leader has agreed to, upon his arrival in Mali, engage the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) further as part of measures to implement its commitments agreed at the ECOWAS meeting.

ECOWAS Meeting
Credit: David Andoh

“I am hoping that by the time he [Col. Goita] gets there, these things would have been completed so that the sanctions will be lifted. We’re talking, hopefully in days, not in weeks” he said.

The ECOWAS Chairman further revealed that Col Assimi Goita “participated in the discussion but we insisted that he goes back and do the consultation with those who are responsible for the decisions and get their buy-in.”

Credit: David Andoh

The President made these comments at the gathering of West African heads of State in Ghana to deliberate on possible solutions to the political crisis in Mali following a coup to oust President Bubakar Keïta in August.

ECOWAS also cautioned further sanctions if the military leaders fail to adhere to the conclusions reached at Tuesday’s meeting.

These sanctions could range from closure of member states’ borders to Mali, restriction of financial inflows and sidelining from decisions concerning the regional bloc among others.

This development comes amid calls by ECOWAS for Mr Keïta’s reinstatement as President.