UN asks Mali government for election timetable

AFP , Thursday 13 Jan 2022

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

Since the closure of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) borders, traffic is disrupted between Mali and neighbouring countries. While some buses have decided to stay in the station, others are going to the border, with passengers crossing illegally. AFP

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

"I am working with the ECOWAS and the African Union to create conditions which can allow the government of Mali to adopt a reasonable and acceptable position to accelerate a transition which has already been underway for a long time," he added.

This could bring back a sense of "normalcy in relations between this state and the international community, ECOWAS in particular," Guterres said, referring to the Economic Community of West African States.

In a sharp escalation after months of diplomatic tensions, ECOWAS last week agreed to shutter borders with the Sahel state and impose a trade embargo.

The move came after Mali's interim government proposed staying in power for up to five years before staging elections, defying international demands that it respect a promise to hold elections on February 27.

Mali's army initially promised to stage elections in February of this year, after staging a coup in August 2020.

But in December, it suggested staying in power for up to an additional five years, citing security concerns.

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