Will Togo be able to facilitate discussions between Mali

Could Togo play the mediator between Mali and the international community? In any case, this is a request from the Malian transitional authorities. On Wednesday, May 4, a delegation led by Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop concluded a visit to Lomé during which he asked Togo to “support the effort for Malian dialogue with the international community” and to “take facilitative initiatives”. Request to which the Togolese authorities responded positively. But the initiative is currently strictly bilateral.

At present, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) did not wish to respond to this proposal from Mali and Togo.

It is true that the mediator, who was given a mandate by the West African organization, the Nigerian Goodluck Jonathan, has had several visits to Bamako in recent months, without success.

Two weeks ago, Malia’s Prime Minister Choguel Maïga even unilaterally announced that the transition was extended by two years, from now on, and that it was no longer possible to review this duration downwards.

ECOWAS, for its part, demands that elections be organized within a maximum of sixteen months. And has imposed economic and financial sanctions on Mali for almost four months, in an attempt to persuade Bamako to bow.

Will the Togolese offer be more successful than Algeria’s? In the face of this blockade, Togo therefore wants to facilitate dialogue and thus play a leading role on the continental stage. Will ECOWAS see it as a constructive proposal to finally break the dead end, or a delaying tactic that Bamako and its Togolese allies tried to do?

It should be remembered that Lomé has never hidden the closeness, the “friendship” that even, under the terms of the joint press release published on Wednesday night, was maintained with the Malian transitional authorities. The head of Togolese diplomacy, Robert Dussey, even shows personal connections to the Malian transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goïta.

Will these links be perceived as a great asset to facilitate exchanges, or as a potential lack of neutrality?

Last January it was already Algeria, which offered its mediation services. With, at that time, support from the African Union (AU). This proposal was never implemented. Will the Togolese offer be more successful? In any case, it is now on the table.

►Read again: Mali: Togo accepts mediation with international and regional institutions

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