Mali-Togo-Diplomacy

Togo to mediate in Mali/ECOWAS crisis

APA - Bamako (Mali)

Togo has been part of a dialogue group facilitating international negotiations since February.

After the failure of the latest round of negotiations by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mediator, Mali sent a large delegation to Togo’s president who has agreed to mediate the political crisis.

The delegation, led by Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, completed a two-day working visit to Togo’s capital Lomé on Wednesday, May 4. Bamako had gone to ask Togo “to facilitate dialogue” with international and regional institutions in order to sort out the Malian crisis, according to Diop.

The head of Mali’s diplomacy asked Lomé to support “good offices missions to mobilize again” these actors, such as ECOWAS, “whose essential aim remains the organization of free, transparent and credible elections and the return to constitutional order.”

“I confirm this. President Faure Gnassingbe and the Togolese government are ready to facilitate a fruitful dialogue between Mali and the international community,” reacted his Togolese counterpart, Robert Dussey, on Twitter.

Togo’s influence within ECOWAS is not negligible even though it is a small country of 56,785 km2 and more than eight million inhabitants. Since February, it has been part of a dialogue group charged with facilitating international negotiations.

According to some observers, this rapprochement with Bamako comes as no surprise. From the beginning, Lomé has chosen a flexible position toward the Malian military in power, refusing to impose heavy sanctions. President Faure Gnassingbe had also discreetly gone to Bamako at the end of January to meet with the president of the transition, Colonel Assimi Goita.

“Lifting sanctions”

Thus, in a joint communiqué at the end of their meeting, Robert Dussey indicated that the Togolese government was ready “to accompany Mali at the political and security levels with a view to restoring constitutional order, peace, stability and the integrity of its territory.” For Togo, only a permanent and constructive dialogue with the Malian transitional authorities will create the conditions for a rapid return to constitutional order and an effective fight against terrorism,” he added.

A poor country of 21 million people, Mali has been in the grip of serious unrest since a military coup in August 2020. The ruling junta promised to restore civilian rule after the coup, but is under ECOWAS sanctions for ignoring an earlier commitment to hold elections in February this year.

The embargo imposed by ECOWAS since January is stifling the Malian economy, although the sanctions are not without consequences for neighboring states. That is why Bamako and Lomé, during their meeting, “noted the need to work towards in building a consensus with ECOWAS that would lead to the lifting of economic sanctions that affect the population.

ODL/te/fss/APA

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