Following the confusion surrounding the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers detained in Bamako, the president of the transitional government in Mali said he was open to dialogue in order to find a rapid solution to the situation. This was at the end of a meeting between Assimi Goïta and the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Dussey, who was on a working and friendship visit to the Malian capital.
The president of the transition in Mali received on a working visit on Monday 18 July, the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Dussey. On the agenda of the exchanges between the two personalities were bilateral issues of common and sub-regional interest. At the end of their meeting, the Malian authorities said they were open to dialogue with their counterparts in Côte d’Ivoire to ease the situation.
“The president of the transition said he was open to dialogue and willing to work, in accordance with the spirit of fraternity and excellent relations between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, for a successful resolution of this situation, including by diplomatic means, with strict respect for Mali’s sovereignty,” said a joint communiqué issued at the end of the audience between the two figures.
Togolese mediation requested
To do this, the President of the transition wished that “Togo would lead a mission of good offices between the parties concerned”. To this end, the Togolese president had already agreed to mediate between Mali and ECOWAS, with a view to lifting the sanctions that had been imposed on the country on 9 January. These sanctions were finally lifted on 3 July in Accra. In response, Minister Dussey reaffirmed President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe’s readiness to continue his support for the transition and to help resolve the situation. “I would like to confirm the availability of the President of the Togolese Republic to help and use his good offices to definitively resolve this problem between our two countries,” reassured the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs before adding: “For Togo and the President of the Togolese Republic, peace in Mali, peace in Côte d’Ivoire, means peace in the entire region and in our country, Togo.
What about the situation between Bamako and Abidjan
As a reminder, on 10 July, Bamako announced the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers whom the country considers to be mercenaries because they are accused of wanting to “break the dynamics of the rebuilding and securing of Mali, as well as the return to constitutional order”.
At an extraordinary National Security Council meeting on 12 July, the Ivorian authorities called on their Malian counterparts to “release without delay” the 49 Ivorian soldiers “unjustly arrested”. According to Abidjan, “these soldiers are regularly enrolled in the Ivorian Army and were in Mali as part of the operations of the National Support Elements”, a detachment of the UN mission in Mali.
However, the UN notified that these Ivorian soldiers arrested in Bamako are not part of the national elements supporting the MINUSMA contingents. A situation that has since poisoned relations between Bamako and Abidjan.