A large Malian delegation paid a two-day working visit to Lomé on Wednesday (May 4) under the leadership of Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. The delegation asked Togo to mediate between Bamako and ECOWAS on the one hand, as well as with the international community.
Mali seeks support from its neighbors ahead of sanctions. Since the beginning of January, Bamako has been the target of economic retaliation measures, launched mainly by the West African Community to shorten the transition period, while the military in power expects a period of two years. On Tuesday, a strong delegation of ministers (Foreign, Economic Affairs and Transport) went to Togo to ask for support from Lomé, whose influence within Cédéaon is not negligible.
Mali wants to rally its neighbors for its cause and strengthen its diplomatic weight, especially towards the community of West African states.
The delegation delivered a message from Colonel Assimi Goïta. The head of the Malian junta is asking Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé to “support Malian dialogue with the international community” and to “take initiatives to facilitate”.
Message received positively. The head of Togolese diplomacy, Robert Dussey, presented Togo as a “land of dialogue”, before assuring that President Gnassimbé was ready to help Mali.
This approach is not a surprise. From the start, Lomé has chosen a flexible position with regard to the Malian putschists, by refusing too heavy sanctions. Faure Gnassingbé had also discreetly gone to Bamako at the end of January to meet the junta’s boss. Finally, since February, Togo has been part of a dialogue group responsible for facilitating international negotiations. The country reaffirms its goodwill, especially in the face of ECOWAS sanctions that are stifling the Malian economy, but which are not without consequences for neighboring countries.
The choice of Togo as mediator. Togo’s choice to renew the dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is not surprising: Lomé has a weight in the subregional institution and has always listened attentively to the words of the head of the Malian junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, one of his fellow students is a Togolese officer close to President Faure Gnassingbé Eyadéma.
the President of Togofor his part, he is one of the few heads of state in the sub-region who has paid a visit – however fast – to Bamako to meet the current president of the Malian transition.
At the recent summit of ECOWAS leaders, held in Ghana’s capital, observers have noted that Togo has never been a supporter of “harsh sanctions” against Mali. Its Secretary of State, Robert Dussey, does not miss an opportunity to speak publicly on Bamako’s cause. He makes many discreet stays in Malia’s capital to also discuss the crisis in the north.
This is very likely why the Malian authorities are now asking Togo to mediate with the international community, in particular France, when relations between Bamako and Paris are bad.
The head of the Malian diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop explained to RFI that he wanted to “find a compromise to get Mali out of this situation and also strengthen the stability of the region”, thanks to Togo.
Thanks to the “experience” from Togo, Abdoulaye Diop wants to “find a compromise to get Mali out of this situation”