Despite the request set by West African leaders of the state to remove the 46 Ivorian soldiers imprisoned in Mali, the present chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Umaro Sissoco Embalo, and the leader of the state of Guinea-Bissau informed the press that there would be no immediate boycotts against Mali.
The senior official justified this decision by giving Togo time to carry out its mediation mission to resolve the issue, especially after Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé’s visit to Mali to ask for presidential grace on the matter.
For his part, the Ivorian government spokesman said at the end of a Council of Ministers held yesterday that Cote d’Ivoire prioritises the diplomatic route of negotiation in the treatment of its affairs, without commenting on the decision to arrest the Ivorian soldiers.
The Ivorian soldiers have been detained since July in Mali and accused of undermining state security, attacking the government, undermining public order and carrying and transporting weapons and munitions of war. The soldiers were sentenced on 30 December to 20 years imprisonment on these charges.