Togolese mediation in the latent crisis between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire

The Attorney General at the Bamako Court of Appeal has opened an investigation into the Malian authorities’ arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers on July 10.

Bamako believed that these soldiers were illegally entering Malian territory and accusing them of wanting to disrupt the country’s security.

In his press release, signed and dated July 18, the Attorney General states that he has received the order to open a judicial inquiry following the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers at Bamako Airport on July 10, before adding that the course of the investigation will be revealed before long.

The arrest of the Ivorian soldiers, whom Bamako qualified as mercenaries, has provoked a latent crisis between the two countries, although the two countries have confirmed the fraternal ties that unite them.

Togolese mediation

The opening of this inquiry into Ivorian soldiers comes at a time when Togolese mediation began, with the arrival in Bamako on Monday by Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey, who was received by the transition’s president, Colonel Assimi Goïta. .

During a press conference held with his Malian counterpart Abdoullaye Diop, the leader of Togolese diplomacy revealed that he perceived Colonel Goïta’s desire for dialogue, adding that he had reaffirmed his desire to maintain fraternal relations between Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

Dussey confirmed that Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé was available to accompany the Malian transitional authorities and help resolve the problems that arise between the two neighboring countries.

The Togolese minister met on Tuesday in Abidjan with Ivorian President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who wrote on his tweet page that he thanked the Togolese president for his initiative in favor of peace and security in the region.

The head of Togolese diplomacy informed the Ivorian head of state about his move in Bamako.

According to the Malian daily “l’alternance”, written by one of its journalists, Youssouf Cissoko, Togo’s efforts to alleviate the escalation between Bamako and Abidjan are the fruit of the strong ties that the Togolese president maintains with Faure Gnassingbé. Malian counterpart. Assimi Goïta.

The Malian journalist writes that the two countries, bound by strong fraternal relations, have no interest in escalating, adding that it would have been best for the Malian authorities to settle the matter quickly with the Ivorian authorities, away from the media.

As for Ivorian political analyst Yannick Hofuy-Kouplan, he believes that “Togo presents itself as a strong player capable of resolving the Malo-Ivorian crisis through diplomatic channels”, noting that the Togolese president maintains excellent connections with all two parts.

Abidjan’s peace

Mali’s arrest of the Ivorian soldiers and their accusation of being mercenaries angered the Ivorian authorities, leading to President Ouattara chairing an extraordinary meeting of the National Defense Council on July 12 following the Malian authorities’ statement.

In the press release it published, the Ivorian authority acknowledged that the arrested soldiers belonged to the Ivorian regular forces, arrived in Mali on an official mission, as logistical support for the Ivorian contingent of MINUSMA and securing the headquarters of the community. Sahel Aviation Service (SAS), in accordance with the letter of agreement signed in 2019.

The Council called on the Malian Government to release the Ivorian troops immediately, adding that all measures will be taken to ensure this.

However, Bamako qualified these Ivorian soldiers as mercenaries, saying they would be brought to justice in Bamako, and questioned the Ivorian version, according to which Abidjan had sent documents regarding the arrival of Ivorian soldiers in the framework of a mission with logistic support for the Ivorian soldiers. Ivorian contingent of MINUSMA or on behalf of SAS.

MINUSMA affected

Following the arrest of the Ivorian soldiers, the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a letter to MINUSMA that rotational flights between the various units of the mission were suspended.

The Malian Ministry has linked this immediately enforceable measure to the arrival of Ivorian soldiers, but also to the issue of national security.

A measure that will remain in force until a meeting between the Malian authorities and MINUSMA is held to coordinate the transport operations of UN troops to and from Mali.

Malian authorities are furious after MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Soldago published a tweet about the arrival of Ivorian soldiers, which Bamako was informed of on July 10th.

The Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifies that the note from the Ivorian embassy in Bamako, to which the mission spokesman referred, is dated July 11, a day after the arrest of the Ivorian soldiers at the airport.

In a note dated 12 July, the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked MINUSMA to clarify its relationship with the Ivorian soldiers and the SAS Company on the one hand and the German units within the mission.

The company, which owns the plane carrying the Ivorian soldiers and which has been working in Mali for a few years, refrained from commenting on this issue, a week after the events.

But German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht in statements last week described the Malian authorities’ behavior with MINUSMA as “disturbing”.

She expressed doubts about Mali’s intentions to cooperate constructively with MINUSMA.

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