Senegalese President Macky Sall on Thursday said he is still hopeful that there can be a negotiation with Mali’s ruling military junta on the timeline for restoring democratic rule, reported Reuters.
Mali’s military leaders, who ousted the government in 2020, have been negotiating with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on how long they can hold power. Earlier this week, the ruling junta announced that they had decided on 24 months starting from March 2022.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS said it regretted Mali’s decision to announce a timeline when the negotiations are still ongoing. The bloc had imposed sanctions on Mali since early this year, and a mutually agreed transition agreement would pave the way for them to be lifted.
“Obviously it was clumsy of them to publish (the timeline), but it was the product of an agreement with the mediator,” Sall said in an interview with French broadcasters RFI and France 24.
“We will see between now and July if the conditions are met for ECOWAS to lift the sanctions,” the Senegalese president said.
He added that the regional heads of state had requested more details about the proposal.
The next ECOWAS summit is set to be held on July 3.
Last week, Sall, who is also chairman of the African Union, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and told him about the looming food crisis in Africa due to the Russia-Ukraine war. He said food supplies should be outside of Western sanctions which were imposed on Moscow after Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. He appealed to the Russian president to try to free up exports of Russian and Ukrainian grains and fertilizer.
On Thursday, Senegalese President Sall said he had no reason to doubt Putin, who had told him Russia was ready to allow exports of grain from Ukraine if the coast was demined.