ECOWAS gives Mali the right to release 46 Ivorian soldiers until January

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In Abuja on Sunday, West African leaders called on Malian authorities to release Ivorian soldiers captured since July before Jan, 46 under the threat of sanctions, West African officials Stated.

The heads of state or governments of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), or their representatives, met at the summit to address the fate of these soldiers, responsible for the deep crisis between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. rice field, the aftermath of coups that have rocked the region in the last two years, not only in two-member states but also in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

“We call on the Malian authorities to release the Ivory Coast soldiers by January 1, 2023,” Ecowas Commission Chairman Omar Touray told reporters.

Otherwise, the sub-regional organization will face sanctions, West African diplomats quoted in the media.

touray also said that ECOWAS reserves the right to act if the soldiers do not regain their freedom by January 1.

Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe, who mediates between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire in the crisis, will visit Mali to “demand” the release of the soldiers, the West African diplomat added.

West African leaders also addressed the situation in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. All three countries have been under military rule since 2020.

ECOWAS, concerned about instability and contagion, has been calling for months for the early return of civilians at the helm of these countries, two of which have been hit hard by the spread of terrorism: Mali and Burkina Faso. are receiving, and these three countries are excluded from ECOWAS decision-making bodies.

Under pressure, officials have promised to withdraw after two years, claiming they want to “rebuild” the state during a so-called transition period.

Furthermore, West African leaders have examined actions by both sides towards what they call a “return to constitutional order”.

In Mali, “it is imperative that constitutional order is restored promptly,” Mr Touray said.

In Guinea, Mr Touray called on the authorities to involve all political parties and civil society in the process of returning civilians to power. Major political parties and large sections of civil society have boycotted the authorities’ offer of dialogue.

Regarding Burkina Faso, Mr Touray expressed ECOWAS’s “grave concerns” about security developments and humanitarian crises. He reiterated his “will to help Burkina Faso in great danger”.

Nour el Houda Bouzammour

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