OUAGADOUGOU-  The court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Thursday ordered the suspension of the eight-nation body's sanctions against Mali, UEMOA's spokeswoman said.

"The decision was rendered this morning. It is a suspension measure pending a detailed ruling of the court," spokeswoman Aminata Mbodj told Reuters. UEMOA in January instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali after its ruling military junta decided to delay elections intended to restore democratic rule after coups in 2020 and 2021.

The sanctions severed Mali's access to regional financial markets. Malian authorities have repeatedly asked for the sanctions to be lifted and filed a legal complaint with the UEMOA court last month.

The interim government has said the sanctions would have severe consequences for the population and has blamed them for debt defaults which total about $180 million since January.

The court's ruling does not apply to sanctions imposed in January 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.

(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga and Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Aaron Ross)