The sanctions severed Mali's access to regional financial markets and have contributed to its default on about $180 million in debt payments and jobs losses.

A regional banking source says the decision to unfreeze Malian assets can only be made by the heads of state who imposed the sanctions.
A regional banking source says the decision to unfreeze Malian assets can only be made by the heads of state who imposed the sanctions. (AFP)

The court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) has ordered the suspension of the eight-nation body's sanctions against Mali, imposed in January after the junta delayed elections.

"The decision was rendered this morning. It is a suspension measure pending a detailed ruling of the court," spokesperson Aminata Mbodj said on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear whether UEMOA would follow the court decision.

UEMOA instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali after the junta decided to delay elections intended to restore democratic rule after coups in 2020 and 2021.

The measures were imposed in conjunction with sanctions by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which froze Malian state assets, closed its borders and suspended non-essential financial transactions.

READ MORE: Mali's junta slams new sanctions by West African bloc

Militant insurgency

Malian authorities have repeatedly asked for the sanctions to be lifted and filed a legal complaint with the UEMOA court last month, saying they would have severe consequences for the population.

One of the world's poorest countries, Mali has over the past decade been wracked by a militant insurgency.

Vast swathes of the country are in thrall to myriad rebel groups and militias, and thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict.

In August 2020, rebel military officers deposed elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after angry protests at the failure to stem militant attacks and clamp down on corruption.

The junta, led by Colonel Assimi Goita, sparked international anger after reneging on a promise to stage elections in February this year.

ECOWAS heads of state are due to meet on Friday in Ghana to discuss the post-coup situation in Mali as well as in Guinea and Burkina Faso, which also had military takeovers in the last year.

READ MORE: Malians in thousands protest African bloc sanctions on junta

Source: TRTWorld and agencies