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The ruling junta in Mali has dissociated itself from sanctions imposed on neighboring Guinea, also ruled by the military, by the Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mali and Guinea, both members of ECOWAS, are suspended from its decision-making bodies to sanction the military’s seizure of power and its continued rule of those countries.

The military overthrew the civilian regimes in August 2020 in Mali and September 2021 in Guinea.

In addition to the suspension of decision-making bodies already in place, a summit of ECOWAS without Guinean or Malian participation decided on September 22 to suspend all assistance and financial transactions with Guinea by the organization’s financial institutions.

A number of personalities have also been subject to individual sanctions.

The Malian government said it was “outraged” by these measures against Guinea, in a statement published on social networks on Wednesday evening.

Expressing “unwavering solidarity” with the Guineans, the Malian government “decides to disassociate itself from all illegal, inhumane and illegitimate sanctions taken against the sister republic of Guinea and will not follow up on them.

It will adopt, “if necessary”, measures to assist Guinea and counteract the effects of the sanctions.

The release of the communiqué comes ahead of a planned visit to Mali on Thursday by three West African heads of state dispatched by ECOWAS to try to resolve a diplomatic crisis with another neighbor, Côte d’Ivoire.

Mali itself was subjected from January to July by ECOWAS to a severe trade and financial embargo punishing the military’s plan to stay in power for up to five more years. The junta led by Colonel Assimi Goïta has since pledged under pressure to hold elections in February 2024, and ECOWAS has lifted the embargo.

But individual sanctions remain in place against members of the Malian junta.

Guinea was one of the few countries to show solidarity with Mali in the face of the January sanctions and kept its borders open.

The head of the Guinean junta, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, was received with full honors by his Malian counterpart on September 22, the day of the ECOWAS summit. He was elevated to the dignity of the Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali.

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