Sanctions against Mali: Togo agrees to mediate in favor of the ruling junta in Mali

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Last Wednesday, May 4, a Malian delegation headed by the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop, completed a working visit to Togolese lands. This visit, which lasted 2 days, focused mainly on Togo’s solicitation as a mediator for Mali with ECOWAS and the international community.

At the beginning of January 2022, Mali was hit hard by severe economic sanctions. These sanctions were enacted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The aim was to put pressure on the junta in power in Mali to reduce the transition period set at 2 years. At the time these sanctions act as a bottleneck, Mali turned to Togo to seek mediation from the regional community and therefore the international community. The influence of the country of Faure Gnassingbé within ECOWAS no longer needs to be demonstrated, Assimi Goïta dispatched his Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Transport to Lomé to negotiate support there.

The objective for the junta is to rally neighboring states to its cause. This will strengthen the diplomatic weight of Mali. Assimi Goïta sent a clear message to his counterpart in Togo. He asks him in particular to: “support the effort of Malian dialogue with the international community”, and to “take initiatives of facilitation”. Fortunately, the message was well received and the response was favorable to Malian expectations. Indeed, the head of Togolese diplomacy, Robert Dussey assured his hosts of President Gnassingbé’s intention to lead this mediation because for him Togo is a country of dialogue.

Moreover, Togo has always campaigned for light sanctions vis-à-vis Mali. The Togolese president even went to Mali at the end of January to meet the transitional government. In addition, since February, Togo has joined a group of States responsible for facilitating international negotiations. This explains the choice of Togo by Assimi Goïta. It is the only country to be open to the discourse of the Malian junta. To date, Faure Gnassingbé remains the only president of the sub-region to have visited Bamako. Togo will also have to expedite negotiations with the international community, in particular France. The head of Togolese diplomacy has always openly supported Mali. He went more than once to Bamako to discuss the crisis. Togo is aware that the sanctions against Mali do not only affect the country, but also neighboring countries. For Abdoulaye Diop, the ambitions are clear. Through Togo, he wants to “find a compromise to get Mali out of this situation and also strengthen the stability of the region”.

For the moment, Mali is holding firm and remains firm on its decisions. The latest and one of the most striking is the permanent suspension of the French media, France 24 and Radio France International (RFI). Indeed, on April 27, the High Authority for Communication of Mali made public the decision definitively ending the broadcast and broadcasting of French media. A decision strongly contested by France Média Monde, owner of the said media, the European Union and even the UN.

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