UN urges Mali’s transitional government to present an electoral calendar

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The United Nations on Thursday called on Mali’s ruling junta to announce an election timetable amid anger over its suggestion to stay in power for five years before holding a vote.

“It is absolutely essential that the government of Mali present an acceptable electoral timetable,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters. He said he hoped to “quickly get in touch” with the junta.

“I am working with ECOWAS and the African Union to create the conditions that can allow the government of Mali to adopt a reasonable and acceptable position to accelerate a transition that has already been underway for a long time,” he added, referring to the economic crisis. Community of West African States.

ECOWAS, in a sharp escalation after months of pressure, agreed last week to close borders with the impoverished Sahel state and impose a trade embargo.

The move came after Mali’s caretaker government offered to stay in power for up to five years before holding elections, defying international demands asking it to keep its promise to hold elections on February 27.

“Keep the dialogue open” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in an interview with AFP on Wednesday, called on the European Union to continue with its own sanctions.

France is ending an operation in which it sent thousands of soldiers to Mali and neighboring countries in the Sahel to fight jihadists.

Speaking at a conference on Thursday, EU special envoy for the Sahel Emanuela Del Re backed the bloc’s sanctions but said the world must keep Mali “engaged and not isolated”.

“The position of the European Union must be consistent and must show firmness in asking for concrete and acceptable responses from the Malian authorities,” she said during an online conference of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“We must keep the dialogue open and lively, holding the transitional authorities to their commitment.”

The Malian army originally promised to hold elections in February this year, after staging a coup in August 2020.

But in December he suggested staying in power for up to five more years, citing security concerns.

(AFP)

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