UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the Malian government on Thursday for “an acceptable electoral calendar”, on the eve of demonstrations in the country, at the call of the ruling junta, to denounce the recent sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.

“It is absolutely essential that the Malian government present an acceptable timetable from the point of view of the elections,” the UN chief said during a meeting with journalists. He said he hoped “to get in touch quickly with the Malian government”.

If “an acceptable timetable is presented and if the government takes steps in this direction, there will be a gradual lifting of sanctions” – border closures, economic and financial measures – by the Economic Community of East African States West (ECOWAS), recalled Antonio Guterres.

“I am working with ECOWAS and the African Union to create the conditions that can allow the government of Mali to adopt a reasonable and acceptable position to accelerate a transition that has already been going on for a long time,” he also said.

This could “allow a restoration of normality in relations between this State and the international community, ECOWAS in particular”, he estimated.

After a second coup in May 2021, the Malian military junta no longer plans elections on February 27 as it had promised and projects a transition that could last up to five years.

This position has been widely condemned by the international community, Russia having for its part displayed “understanding” with regard to the Malian authorities and the difficulty of organizing elections in a State where armed groups proliferate.

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