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Mali: ECOWAS delivers a "firm message" to the junta on the elections

2021-10-17T21:27:56.832Z

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, current president of the Conference of West African Heads of State, visited Mali on Sunday to ...



Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, current president of the Conference of West African Heads of State, visited Mali on Sunday to deliver a "firm message" to the ruling junta on the holding of elections in February , said a member of his delegation.

Nana Akufo-Addo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), made a visit of a few hours on Sunday, in full doubt about the respect of its commitments by the junta.

"Our message is unambiguous and we have made it clear: the elections must be held on the dates scheduled,"

a senior member of the delegation told AFP after the talks.

“The goal was to send a strong message.

And we did it, ”

he said on condition of anonymity.

The head of the junta and transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goïta, for his part, engaged in

"pro domo advocacy"

, he said without further clarification.

A delegation from ECOWAS will return to Bamako before the end of October

"hoping to obtain assurances,"

he said.

In September, ECOWAS asked the authorities to submit "at the latest" at the end of October a calendar of "essential steps" for the elections in February 2022. The authorities reserved a meeting with the media for the state press only. after talks with Malian leaders at the presidential palace, an AFP correspondent reported.

At the same time, a demonstration of support for the authorities was organized near the palace, behind a banner proclaiming "Only the choice of the sovereign people of Mali counts", a response to pressure exerted by ECOWAS or France. This visit took place in a delicate security and political context in a country plunged into turmoil since 2012 and the start of independence and Salafist insurgencies in the North.

The military, who seized power by force in August 2020 and consolidated it with a new putsch in May 2021, pledged under pressure from West African neighbors and much of the international community to give in the place for civilians after elections scheduled for the end of February 2022. However, for weeks, the junta and the government it installed have signaled more and more clearly that the deadline may not be respected.

Crisis with the French partner

At the same time, the relationship with the French partner, which deploys more than 5,000 soldiers in the Sahel against the jihadists but has decided to reduce its strength to 2,500-3,000 men by 2023, is going through its most serious crisis since the start of the engagement. French in 2013.

Paris considers that Bamako's possible recourse to the private company Wagner, the subject of discussions despite the actions decried by the Russian group of mercenaries in Africa or elsewhere, is incompatible with the French presence.

Bamako invokes its sovereignty and accused Paris of "abandonment".

Mali's partners consider the political progress made under the junta since August 2020 to be minimal. The country remains plagued by violence, in the center and near the borders with Burkina Faso, and is concerned about their progress towards the west and the south. .

A Malian soldier was killed Sunday morning in an attack attributed to "unidentified elements" against a post in Acharane, in the region of Timbuktu (north), the army said.

The "vigorous" response killed at least four attackers, she said.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-17

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