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ECOWAS will not sanction Mali for detained Ivorian soldiers


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Mali was given until January 1st by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to release the 46 Ivorian soldiers it claims are mercenaries.

The 46 soldiers who were given a 20-year prison sentence have not yet been released, despite the fact that the deadline has passed.

It appears that ECOWAS, the principal regional organization for West Africa, has no immediate plans to sanction Mali.

A memorandum was signed on December 22 following a visit to Bamako by an official Ivorian delegation, with the brother of the Head of State, Téné Birahima Ouattara, stating that the matter was “on the way to resolution.”

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It appears that ECOWAS thinks now is not the time to instigate new tensions given how much better things have gotten between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire since the two governments recently signed a memorandum.

The deal reached between Mali and Ivory Coast leaves open the prospect of Assimi Gota, the head of the Malian military junta, receiving a presidential pardon.

Therefore, Koulouba, the location of the presidential palace in Bamako, is currently the focus of attention.

The defense attorneys have also certified that they have renounced all appeal rights in an act of non-appeal, which could expedite the process that could result in a pardon.

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The soldiers “will soon return to Ivorian soil,” according to President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast.

In his speech at the end of the year, which was aired on national television RTI, Ouattara said, “My thoughts are especially with our soldiers detained in Mali since 10 July.”

Three female soldiers were freed last September as a result of diplomatic efforts made with the backing of the leaders of several friendly nations, including the president of the Togolese Republic Faure Gnassingbé, he recalled.

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