On Thursday, the United Nations called on Mali’s ruling junta to announce an election rally amid anger over its proposal to remain in power for five years before voting.
“It is imperative that the government of Mali presents an acceptable election schedule,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters. He said he hoped to “get in touch quickly” with the junta.
“I am working with ECOWAS and the African Union to create the conditions that will enable the Mali Government to take a reasonable and acceptable position to accelerate a transition that has already been going on for a long time,” he added, referring to the economic Community of West African States.
ECOWAS, in a sharp escalation after months of pressure, last week agreed to close the borders to the poor Sahel state and impose a trade embargo.
The move came after Mali’s interim government proposed that they remain in power for up to five years before the election, despite international demands that they honor a promise to hold elections on February 27.
“Keep the dialogue open”
In an interview with AFP on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on the EU to follow up on its own sanctions.
France is launching an operation that has sent thousands of troops to Mali and neighboring Sahel to fight jihadists.
At a conference on Thursday, the EU’s special envoy for the Sahel, Emanuela Del Re, supported the sanctions from the bloc but said the world needed to keep Mali “engaged and not isolated”.
“The European Union’s position must be coherent and must show firmness in asking for concrete and acceptable answers from the Malian authorities,” she said at an online conference of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“We must keep the dialogue open and alive and keep the transitional authorities committed.”Mali’s army first promised to hold elections in February this year, following a coup in August 2020.But in December, it proposed staying in power for up to another five years, citing security concerns.