On July 26, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order (E.O.) giving the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, the authority to sanction individuals who are responsible for, or complicit in, actions that exacerbate the deteriorating situation in Mali. This E.O. was issued pursuant to the Administration’s determination that the situation in Mali, including repeated violations of ceasefire arrangements and the expansion of terrorist activities into southern and central Mali, constituted an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. According to the White House press release, the recent malign activities in Mali, such as drug trafficking, hostage-taking, attacks against civilians, and attacks against United Nations personnel caused President Trump to issue this E.O. to promote the resolution of the conflict. While no person has yet been sanctioned pursuant to this E.O., the sanctions authorized include the blocking of property of sanctioned persons and prohibiting sanctioned persons from entering the United States.
According to Secretary of State Pompeo’s July 26 press statement, the E.O. is a necessary response to the fact that extremist groups are exploiting ethnic tensions and expanding networks well outside Mali’s borders. In addition, the Secretary expressed disappointment in the fact that the signatories to the June 20, 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Accord have made “distressingly little headway.” The United States, together with other members of the United Nations, have been working to restore peace in Mali since the 2012 rebellion in the north, a coup d’etat, and loss of the northern two-thirds of the country to violent extremist groups. Since 2013, French counterterrorism forces and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeeping mission have been working to restore Mali’s territorial integrity.
Mali also is subject to EU financial sanctions (imposed on September 28, 2017) and the United Nations (imposed on September 5, 2017) but to date, no targets have been designated. The UN sanctions through the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2374 impose travel restrictions and the freezing of funds and economic resources of listed parties. The EU sanctions through Council Regulations (EU) 2017/1770 implements the UNSCR 2374.