the question of the release of the 46 Ivorian soldiers “in the process of being resolved”?

the question of the release of the 46 Ivorian soldiers “in the process of being resolved”?

Detained in Mali since July, will the 46 Ivorian soldiers soon be released? This question is “in the process of being resolved“, said Ibrahima Téné Ouattara, Minister of Defense in Côte d’Ivoire. The Ivorian representative was part of the official delegation that traveled to Mali to obtain the release of the 46 Ivorian soldiers.

“Our Ivorian brothers have arrived”

The meeting was announced in a “brotherhood“.”Our Ivorian brothers have arrived”, declared a ministerial source when the Ivorian delegation arrived in Bamako. “The delegation is led by the Minister of State for Defense Téné Birahima Ouattara. We will work in a good atmosphere“, said a Malian minister.

The official Ivorian delegation was received at the Koulouba presidential palace in Bamako. The Ivorian officials were welcomed on site by the head of the Malian junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta.

The meeting took place in a fraternal spirit of mutual understanding.
Ibrahima Téné Ouattara, Ivorian Minister of Defense traveling to Bamako.

A working session was also planned with several members of the Malian government, according to a collaborator of the presidency. Ivorian officials were then allowed to visit the detained soldiers. “As a goodwill gesture from Mali, the Ivorian delegation should visit the detained soldiers“, said the Malian authorities.

“A fruitful journey”according to Abidjan

Started a few weeks after their arrest last July, negotiations for the release of the Ivorian soldiers have been going on for several months. Several African countries, in addition to Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, take part in the discussions, notably Ghana, Gambia and Togo.

Last September, Colonel Assimi Goïta indicated that the release of the Ivorian soldiers could be envisaged with “counterparties“, to know the extradition of Malian personalities living in exile in Côte d’Ivoire. The Malian leader then estimated that “che same personalities benefit from the protection of Côte d’Ivoire to destabilize Mali. Hence the need for a lasting solution as opposed to a one-way solution which would consist in acceding to the Ivorian request without compensation for Mali.“.

We ask the Malian authorities no later than January 1, 2023 to release the Ivorian soldiers.Omar Touray, Chairman of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

According to Ivorian Defense Minister Ibrahima Téné Ouattara, the delegation’s trip was essential for the release of imprisoned Ivorian soldiers. “This is a question that is in the process of being resolved. We can say that we have just had a fruitful trip here on Malian soilHowever, the content of the discussions concerning the Ivorian military has not been made public.

Who are the Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali?

Last July, 49 Ivorian soldiers were arrested at Bamako airport. A month later, they were imprisoned for “attempted attack on state security“. Since then, two versions have been opposed. On the one hand, the Malian State assures that it is “mercenaries” sent to trouble “constitutional order” from the country. On the other hand, Côte d’Ivoire assures that the Ivorian soldiers are elements of the “national support” (NSE) intervening in support of the UN mission in Mali, the MINUSMA.

“Promote peace” and strengthen “friendship”

There was a misunderstanding between the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire a few months ago, it was good that we could meet to talk about it. That’s what we did“, concluded the Ivorian Minister of Defense.

We congratulate Mali and Côte d’Ivoire for the commitments made.
Robert Dussey, Togolese Minister for Foreign Affairs.

We were able to note the will on both sides to work to be able to overcome this event by preserving the links that exist between our two countries.“said Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop.”Our discussions were able to lead to the signing of a memorandum of understanding to promote peace and work to strengthen friendly relationsbetween the two countries, he added. Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey, whose country is mediating in this case, was also present in Bamako during the visit. After the discussions, he said to himself “happy (…) to be a witness and co-signer of commitments that the two parties made in Bamako“.”We congratulate Mali and Côte d’Ivoire for the commitments made“, he commented on social networks.

Gathered on December 4 in Abuja, within the framework of the summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African heads of state nevertheless took the opportunity to demand the release of the Ivorian soldiers.

We ask the Malian authorities no later than January 1, 2023 to release the Ivorian soldiers.“, declared Omar Touray, president of the commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Failing this, ECOWAS will take sanctions against Mali, the institution said. These sanctions could apply as early as January 1, 2023 if the soldiers are not released.

ECOWAS had already asked Bamako to release imprisoned Ivorian soldiers. At the end of September, a delegation from the West African institution made the trip to Bamako. During an official meeting, Assimi Goïta had asked ECOWAS to reconsider the sanctions in force against Mali and Guinea before discussing the release of Ivorian soldiers. A request to which ECOWAS did not respond.