Paris is putting pressure on Bamako. France poses as “top priority” the maintenance of the holding of elections in February 2022 after the second coup d’état in Mali, the head of French diplomacy said in a statement on Monday (May 31). Jean-Yves Le Drian participated the same day in an online meeting with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The 15 ECOWAS member countries decided on Sunday to suspend Mali from their organization, after a new coup, the second in nine months, under the leadership of Colonel Assimi Goïta. They demanded the nomination “immediate” of a “new” Prime Minister from civil society, without however asking for the reinstatement of former President Bah N’Daw and former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane in their functions. They also reaffirmed the need for the transition opened after the first coup in August 2020 to be limited to 18 months, with general elections as scheduled for February 2022.
Paris had threatened on May 25 to take “targeted sanctions” against the soldiers involved in this “coup d’etat within the coup d’etat” if the transition does not immediately resume its “normal course”.
President Emmanuel Macron also said on Sunday that France would withdraw its troops from Mali if there was no “no more democratic legitimacy or transition” in the country and if Bamako went “in the sense” of radical Islamism.