West African states will uphold sanctions on Mali until it appoints a civilian prime minister, the leader of the ECOWAS regional bloc has said.

Iran PressAfrica: The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States slapped sanctions on Mali after the August 18 military coup, which toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The sanctions “will be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named”, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said on Friday.

Mali’s neighbors took a hard line after last month’s coup, imposing sanctions in a bid to push the military government to swiftly restore civilian rule, Al Jazeera reported.

The trade restrictions include a ban on commercial trade and financial flows, but not on basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic, fuel, or electricity.

Mali’s military government endorsed a plan to restore civilian rule after the coup and appointed a committee that chose a 70-year-old retired Colonel and former Defence Minister Bah Ndaw as interim president.

Ndaw, who was sworn into office on Friday, has promised to honor the plan – or "transition charter" – and hand over power within 18 months.