West African leaders have announced the lifting of sanctions against the military regime in Mali.
The heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, accepted a proposal by the Malian military to hold elections and return to civilian rule by March 2024.
The bloc had imposed crippling economic sanctions after army officers staged two coups in less than a year in August 2020 and May 2021.
It also accepted a two-year timetable for the restoration of democracy in Burkina Faso, but told Guinea, a third country which has witnessed a military takeover, it would face economic sanctions unless it could speed up its proposed three-year transition back to democracy.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s former president, Roch Kaboré, has been granted “total freedom” by the military generals who overthrew him in a coup in January.
The move is part of reconciliation efforts, the Radio Omega website reported on Sunday
Mr Kaboré was allowed to return to his family home in the capital, Ouagadougou, in April after being placed under house arrest since the coup.
His party, the People’s Movement for Progress (MPP), said the former leader has since “neither been free to move, free to receive certain people nor to communicate”.
The military junta on Sunday reaffirmed “the total release of the former head of state” as part of the “dynamics of strengthening social cohesion and national reconciliation”.
Junta leader Lt Col Paul-Henri Damiba met Mr Kaboré last month to discuss security, the transition to civilian rule and other matters of national interest.