Mali - Guinea - Transition - ECOWAS

Mali-Guinea juntas united amid Ecowas threat

APA-Bamako (Mali)

The regionally isolated juntas in Mali and Guinea seem to find common ground amid threats of sanctions against the latter by the West African regional bloc Ecowas.

Guinea's military leader Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya arrived in the Malian capital on Wednesday afternoon to mark Mali independence anniversary on Thursday. 

Received "with all honours, as he stepped off the presidential plane of the Republic of Mali", by his counterpart Assimi Goïta, the head of the Guinean junta is taking part in the 62nd anniversary of Mali's sovereignty as a independent nation.

 It is Colonel Doumbouya's first trip abroad, one year after overthrowing President Alpha Condé and two years after Mali's Colonel Goïta toppled Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

 "It is with joy that I welcome my brother, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya. This presence, as part of the 22 September festivities, is a mark of constant solidarity. Two countries, one history, one people. Once again, Guinea stands by us," the Malian colonel said on his Twitter page.

 According to Guinean media, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya will discuss with Colonel Assimi Goita the issue of 46 Ivorian soldiers detained in Bamako since July 10. 

The soldiers are accused by Bamako of attempting to destabilise the country, while Abidjan denies.

 The two leaders are in perfect harmony. 

Guinea is one of the few West African countries to have shown solidarity with Mali when the country was under the embargo of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) between January and July 2022. 

It had opened its border to landlocked Mali to allow it to import and export goods through the port of Conakry.

 Mali and Equatorial Guinea files in New York

 As colonels Goïta and Doumbouya attend celebrations of Mali's Independence Day in Bamako on Thursday, ECOWAS heads of state are meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

 This extraordinary summit was initiated by Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, the current president of ECOWAS. 

He had warned Guinea the day before that it would face "heavy sanctions" if the junta persisted in its desire to remain in power for three years before handing over to elected civilians.

 With regard to Mali, it is above all the fate of the 46 Ivorian soldiers detained in Bamako that should preoccupy ECOWAS. 

The affair has worsened the already tense relations between Bamako and Abidjan. 

The Malian junta describes these soldiers as "mercenaries" and accuses them of having wanted to undermine the security of the state. 

Denouncing "hostage-taking", Côte d'Ivoire asserts that the soldiers were on a mission to provide logistical support to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (UNMISMA).

 However, Bamako, which is emerging from a six-month ECOWAS embargo, recently warned against any using the regional organisation in the crisis with neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire. 

Mali's interim Prime Minister, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, said the case of the 46 Ivorian soldiers "is purely judicial and bilateral" and the mediation initiated by Togo was the only framework to resolve it.

 Accusing the Ivorian authorities of being driven by a "desire for adversity" and "having transformed a judicial case into a diplomatic crisis", Mali called on them not to "shirk their responsibility" and warned that it "is in no way concerned by this procedure before the regional body".



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