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Mali says it will work with regional bloc, AU, UN on transition timeline

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By Reuters
Mali says it will work with regional bloc, AU, UN on transition timeline
Mali says it will work with regional bloc, AU, UN on transition timeline   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

BAMAKO – Mali’s transitional government has created working groups with members of West Africa’s regional bloc, the African Union and the United Nations to work toward a return to constitutional order, it said on Wednesday.

The West African state was hit hard with sanctions last month after the military junta that first seized power in a 2020 coup proposed extending its rule until 2025.

Its leaders have thrown out the agreed transition timeline, lashed out at European allies and condemned the measures taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), but the transitional administration’s latest statement suggested they may be softening their stance as sanctions start to bite.

Leaders of the regional bloc ECOWAS have said they will gradually ease the sanctions, which include border closures and restrictions on financial transactions, if Mali’s transitional government proposes an acceptable timetable for elections.

ECOWAS last week decided not to impose sanctions on neighbouring Burkina Faso, where the army also staged a military coup, because the junta there showed willingness to work with the bloc toward a return to constitutional order, ECOWAS said.

“As part of the ongoing dialogue with ECOWAS, the African Union, and the international community regarding the conduct of the transition, the government of Mali has set up a consultation mechanism to support this dynamic,” the Malian statement said.

“The purpose of this mechanism is to seek a solution reconciling the aspirations of the Malian people and the demands of the international community, in particular through the adoption of a consensual timetable.”

The consultations will take place within a dialogue group at the ministerial level and a larger working group, both of which will include members of ECOWAS, the AU and UN, it said.

Ghana’s president and ECOWAS chair Nana Akufo-Addo last week blamed Mali for setting off a string of coups in West Africa.

Mali’s August 2020 coup was followed by a second military coup last May, one in Guinea in September last year, a coup in Burkina Faso last month and a failed coup in Guinea-Bissau.

On Monday Mali asked the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to lift the sanctions against it, saying they would have a severe socio-economic impact on the population.