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Insecurity makes Mali elections uncertain – FM

Mali's Foreign Minister has cast doubt over the feasibility of holding elections early next year thanks to the state of…

Mali’s Foreign Minister has cast doubt over the feasibility of holding elections early next year thanks to the state of insecurity in the West African country.Abdoulaye Diop while on a trip to Rabat, Morocco recently said that presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for February 27, 2022 might not hold “if the security situation is not addressed.”

Mali’s chief diplomat told a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita that “an additional challenge has come with the disengagement of France as a partner, which could create a security vacuum that the Malian state will have to fill”.

Paris has undertaken to reorganize its military presence in the Sahel, leaving its northernmost bases in Mali (Kidal, Timbuktu and Tessalit) and planning to reduce its troop numbers in the region by 2023 to 2,500-3,000.

Currently it has more than 5,000 troops in Mali.

France’s decision inevitably changes the situation, according to Mr. Diop, who urged Mali’s external partners to review their position. 

“We have committed ourselves to a timetable to hold elections in February. We are on this path but this dogmatic approach of saying ‘it has to be February 27 or nothing,’ is wrong and I think our partners need to take a step back and look at the whole situation,” he said.

Mali’s Foreign Minister is in favor of a solution that takes into account local realities, because in his eyes “Malians feel that it is always outside partners who give us the prescriptions, and most of the time, it does not work,” he said.

A new approach by the international community is needed to avoid chaos, he warned. 

“The mindset must change. Let’s get out of prescriptions, diktats, invectives, ultimatums; let us sit together and have a sincere dialogue with the people of Malian” he said to the partners.

Mali, a landlocked country in West Africa, has been trying to emerge from a political crisis since the military coup on August 18, 2020 against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The military, which blamed IBK’s regime for inaction in the face of jihadist attacks that have rocked the country since 2012, has in turn found itself mired in a security crisis ever since.

And according to Youssouf Coulibaly, a legal advisor to transitional President Assimi Goita, a “correction of the trajectory of the transition” is inevitable. 

According to this close friend of the colonel, the junta’s promise to organize elections in February 2022 and to hand over power to civilians cannot be kept.

Mr. Diop, who was carrying a message of peace from the President of the transition to King Mohammed VI, announced during the visit, the “imminent resumption of bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Mali. 

As such, Morocco will support Mali in various development programs in sectors such as agriculture, water, health, information and infrastructure.

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