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Bamako Out in the Cold

West African leaders have suspended Mali from their regional bloc in response to last week’s coup but stopped short of imposing new sanctions. Leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held an emergency summit in Ghana’s capital, Accra on Sunday to agree to a response to the Malian military’s toppling of a president and prime minister for the second time in nine months. Mali’s neighbours and international powers fear the latest revolt will jeopardise a commitment to hold a presidential election next February and undermine a regional fight against armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS). Speaking after the meeting, Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said Mali’s suspension “from ECOWAS takes immediate effect until the deadline of the end of February 2022”, when the country’s interim leaders “are supposed to hand over to a democratically elected government”.