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Mali junta shifts ground, announces new transition date. What would be ECOWAS reaction?

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Mali’s military leader Colonel Assimi Goita has announced that Bamako will be returned to civil rule after twenty months.

The position was made known through a decree read on state television on Monday by the spokesperson of the government.

“The duration of the transition is fixed at 24 months (from) March 26, 2022”. The decree read.

The military said Monday’s decree followed an “advanced stage of negotiations with ECOWAS” and Mali hoped sanctions would be lifted.

“The adoption of this decree is proof of the willingness of [Malian] authorities to dialogue with ECOWAS,” the spokesperson added.

Mali’s constitutional court named Colonel Assimi Goïta, as its transitional president after a coup that ousted the civil government of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ramped up sanctions on Mali after Goïta took over the government in August 2020. The regional body also activated its standby military force following the failure of transitional authorities in the country to organize elections.

The West African country since Goita took over power has also been at loggerheads with many of its people within and outside the continent. Most notable among the many diplomatic rifts is breaking defence ties with former colonialist, France which has been helping with the fight against terrorism.

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Equatorial Guinea drags France to ICC over violation to fight corruption

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The diplomatic back and forth between European powerhouse, France and Africa, has gone a step further. The latest issue is between Equatorial Guinea.

The African country has started proceedings against France at the International Court of Justice in relation to charges that France had not followed up on its obligations in fighting corruption.

The Dutch-based court on Friday revealed that “Equatorial Guinea institutes proceedings against France with regard to a dispute concerning the alleged violation, by France, of its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and asks the court to indicate provisional measures.”

Equatorial Guinea made requests of the Hague court, based on a United Nations anti-corruption convention, “to recover certain assets corresponding to property confiscated by France” that the French government has not responded to. Among the assets requested is the Avenue Foch mansion.  

Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC), which includes Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Gabon. It also is a member of the Franc zone.

France’s relationship with Africa has suffered lately with a series of anti-demonstrations across the continent.  In Gabon, the government was forced to stop a planned protest in July. The protest stretched beyond Gabon and took to France.

In March, protesters disrupted an auction right before a 19th-century carved mask was sold for €4.2 million, despite accusations that it was “stolen goods” in Montpellier in the South of France.

Mali, another African country that until recently has been a strong ally with France has had a toxic relationship with the European so much that Bamako broke defence relations with Paris.

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ECOWAS mission in Mali over 46 detained Ivorian soldiers. Will Bamako budge?

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The diplomatic tension between Mali and Ivory Coast has drawn reactions from leadership across the West Africa sub-region.

A mission deployed by the Economic Community of the West African States led by Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo and Gambian leader Adama Barrow and Togolese head of state who was represented by his minister of foreign affairs, Robert Dussey arrived Mali on Thursday over the diplomatic issue. The officials discussed the fate of Ivorian soldiers arrested upon arrival at the Bamako airport.

The West African neighbours have been locked in a diplomatic tug-of-war since July 10, when authorities in Bamako arrested 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast.

Mali labelled the soldiers as “mercenaries”, claiming that the soldiers came to Mali to work for a contracting company of the United Nations mission. It later proposed a prisoner swap which

Ivory Coast denied the claim and insisted that the troops were simply on a routine rotation for personnel who provide backup services for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Beyond Ivory Coast, Mali lately has had diplomatic loggerheads with other entities, including its former colony and defence ally France, the United Nations, Germany, and Egypt amongst others.

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