The West African states' envoy travelled to Bamako on Wednesday to deliver a message from the region's leaders to Mali's strongman, Colonel Assimi Goita, four days before a high-risk summit in the crisis-hit country.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in the Malian capital ahead of a meeting of West African heads of state in Accra on Sunday. They will examine the timetable submitted to them by the Malian authorities following a double putsch to return power to civilians.
The Malian authorities want to make this transition last up to five years from 1 January 2022. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has so far said that such a delay was unacceptable.
ECOWAS leaders will have to decide on Sunday how to respond to a timetable that could stretch to the end of 2026.
At a previous summit on 12 December, West African leaders had called for elections to be held on the originally scheduled date of 27 February this year. They had maintained the sanctions imposed on about 150 personalities (freezing of financial assets, travel ban within ECOWAS) and their families, and brandished the threat of additional "economic and financial" sanctions.
An official ECOWAS document dated Monday indicates that the organization's envoy will deliver to the transitional president and head of the junta, Colonel Goïta, a message from the heads of state and government. The content is not known.
Mali, a poor, landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, has experienced two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021. The political crisis is coupled with a serious security crisis that has been ongoing since 2012 and the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in the north.