the diplomatic triumph of Togo

the diplomatic triumph of Togo

The Transitional Government renews its deep gratitude to the President of the Togolese Republic, HE Mr. Faure Gnassingbe, for his tireless efforts and his constant commitment to dialogue and peace in the region. After the announcement of the decree pardoning the 49 Ivorian soldiers, the press release published by the spokesperson for the Malian transitional government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, warmly thanks Togo for its mediation in the file.

In this affair which has poisoned relations between Abidjan and Bamako since July 2022, the intervention of Lomé certainly weighed heavily in its amicable resolution, ratified on the evening of Friday January 6. On the front line in the negotiations, the content of which remains confidential, the once small “Switzerland of Africa” perpetuates its long diplomatic tradition. “ Diplomacy has always played a very important role in Togolese political liferecalls Francis Kpatindé, journalist and teacher at Science Po Paris. The country has always had great diplomats in the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, like Koffi Panou, for example. »

This culture of dialogue was supported, in this case, by the closeness between the Togolese power and the members of the Malian junta. ” Togo has both the ear of Alassane Ouattara and the ear of Colonel Goïta “, corroborates the former director of the World Africa.

(Re)see: Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali: Faure Gnassingbé in Bamako then Abidjan

The experienced Faure Gnassingbé and the skilful Robert Dussey

An intermediary personified by the figure of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Dussey. A network man, skilled in conducting time-consuming negotiations, the latter personally maintains relations with the head of the Malian junta and his close guard. Following the first putsch of 2020, Assimi Goïta and Robert Dussey meet, on several occasions, discreetly, in Lomé or Bamako. So much so that the second becomes the man who whispers in the ear of the head of the junta »according to the weekly Young Africa.

In addition, he is the only one in the sub-region to take a stand for “ help Goïta at the time of the discussions of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to decide on sanctions against Mali, in March 2022.

This role of facilitator also comes from the know-how of Faure Gnassingbé, the experienced head of state since 2005. “ In terms of age, he is one of the youngest leaders of the ECOWAS countries. But he is the dean by length of reign and the one with the most experience at the head of an État among its counterparts “, emphasizes Francis Kpatindé. ” In the region, secret negotiations are taking place in Togoabounds Antoine Glaser, journalist, specialist in Africa. Only Faure Gnassingbé has this type of relationship with the military in power. It is no coincidence that the deposed Burkinabé lieutenant-colonel, Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, took refuge in Togo. »

“A setback” for Umaro Sissoco Embalo

Other actors, like ECOWAS, tried to influence the outcome of this ” misunderstanding “, thus described by the Ivorian Minister of Defense, Téné Birama Ouattara, after the meeting between the delegations of the two countries on December 22. At the beginning of December 2022, the West African organization set, as an ultimatum in Bamako, the date of January 1 to release the soldiers under penalty of sanctions.

Umaro Sissoco Embalo tried to enter the file in a thunderous way. He has an annoying tendency to want to double his partners and his peers. It came back to him like a boomerang.

Francis Kpatindé, journalist and teacher at Science Po Paris, specialist in Africa

His involvement and his radical position in the talks were hardly appreciated in Bamako. And the statement does not fail to scratch the current president of the institution, the Bissau-Guinean, Umaro Sissoco Embalo. ” The transitional government was outraged by the biased attitude of some officials against our country. The most recent case is the aggressive position of the current President of ECOWAS, HE Mr. Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who after having failed miserably to undermine Mali’s honor before international bodies, has just issued an ultimatum to the Government of the Transition regarding the release of Ivorians. »

Found outside the framework of the West African organization, this epilogue crowns an indisputable diplomatic victory for Lomé. ” In this file, there was only one interlocutor recognized by the two parties, it is Togo remarks Francis Kpatindé. Conversely, it appears as a snub for Umaro Sissoco Embalo, more than for the instance itself. “ It should not be forgotten that it was a member of ECOWAS who helped to settle the dispute, points out Mr. Kpatindé. I would rather say that it is a setback for the President-in-Office. He took a slap. He tried to thunderously enter the file. He has an annoying tendency to want to double his partners and his peers. It came back to him like a boomerang. »

As for the behind-the-scenes discussions, nothing has yet filtered through on the counterparties to this grace. While the prospect of a state visit by Colonel Assimi Goïta to Abidjan is rumored, Antoine Glaser puts forward the hypothesis of possible financial compensation. ” Côte d’Ivoire plays an important role at the level of the Central Bank of EWest African states. Given its weight in the region’s economy, nothing can be done without Côte d’Ivoire. And as currently, Mali is financially drained, it is possible that there were certain financial compensations. But that is only hypothetical. »