THE President of Togo has agreed to mediate in Mali, where the military junta is under international pressure to re-establish civilian rule after taking power in 2020.
The foreign ministers of Mali and Togo told reporters late Wednesday that Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé had agreed to act as a facilitator in the crisis.
‘We asked President Faure Gnassingbé to use his good office, wisdom and experience to facilitate dialogue with regional actors and more broadly dialogue with the entire international community,’ Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said in Togo’s capital, Lomé.
Togo has always been ‘a country of peace and dialogue,’ Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said, confirming that Gnassingbé, the longest-serving West African leader, will ‘gladly help’ to restore constitutional order in Mali.
‘Political genius’ needed
‘The situation we are in today requires that we show political genius about how to get out of this situation,’ said Diop.
Mali has been in turmoil since the military seized power in August 2020 following protests over the government’s handling of a war against a jihadist offensive in the country.
The junta initially promised to restore civilian rule, but seized power in another coup in 2021 to oust civilian leaders, and military leader Assimi Goïta was sworn in as interim president.
The country has been hit with sanctions after failing to meet a commitment to the Ecowas bloc of West African states to hold elections by February of this year, and negotiations are ongoing over how long it will take to transition to civilian rule.
Diop said because of the security situation and the need for reforms, the country would need 24 months to return to constitutional order.
Relations between Mali and its former colonial power France have also deteriorated.