visit by ECOWAS mediator in Bamako

A delegation from ECOWAS is expected this Friday, March 18, 2022 in Bamako. The West African Economic Organization’s mediator for Mali, Goodluck Jonathan, will once again try to agree with the transitional authorities on an election timetable for a return to constitutional order in Mali. The presidential and parliamentary elections, which were originally scheduled for the end of February, have not been held.

Mali is living under economic and financial sanctions for two and a half months, and the authorities want to lift these sanctions, which punish the population severely. But little is known about the schedule for upcoming meetings. Neither ECOWAS, which confirms this visit, nor the Malian transitional authorities have communicated the agenda for the planned meetings. We only know that Goodluck Jonathan will arrive at noon.

On Thursday, the current president of the African Union, Senegalese Macky Sall, said he had met with the Malian transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goïta, “on the doorstep” of the mediator’s visit. “I support the resumption of dialogue for a negotiated solution to the Mali crisis,” said President Macky Sall. The African Union has already expressed its position: an extension of the transition by a maximum of sixteen months. ECOWAS wants a shorter extension, twelve months. This is the time that Ghanaian Nana Akufo-Addo, the current president of ECOWAS, considers “acceptable”.

On the part of the Bamako authorities, after an initial proposal of five years, reduced to four years in early January, a number of declarations have been formulated which provide for openness to compromise, in order to have the ECOWAS sanctions lifted as soon as possible. Some sources believe that a 24-month extension could be proposed by the Malian transitional authorities to the ECOWAS mediator, which has not been officially confirmed.

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