Sahel state ends ban on political party activities

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Mali has announced it is lifting the restriction adopted in the spring

Mali’s interim government has revoked its suspension of political party activities imposed several months ago, the council of ministers said on Wednesday.

The nation’s military rulers, who took power in a coup in 2021, decreed the ban on April 10. Government spokesperson Abdoulaye Maiga made the announcement on state television, saying that the prohibition had been enacted to maintain public order.

“By taking this deterrent measure, the government was able to contain all the threats of public disorder that hung over this major event,” the council said in lifting the rule.

The government announced that, with the current focus on implementing the recommendations from the April 13-May 10 peace dialogue, political parties would be allowed to resume operating.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the military leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger established an alliance by signing a treaty at a summit in the Nigerien capital of Niamey. Mali assumed the first chairmanship of the alliance for a one-year term. It followed those nations’ recent decision to cut ties with the existing Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

READ MORE: Sahel military governments establish confederation

In June, a high-ranking delegation from the Russian Defense Ministry, led by Deputy Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, visited Mali and Niger. Mali’s interim leader, Assimi Goita, hosted the officials at the presidential palace in Bamako. 

Russia’s relations with the Sahel countries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have strengthened in recent years, despite concerns from the US and some of its European Union allies. Western influence has dwindled in all three landlocked nations, with their military governments expelling French forces that had previously taken part in the fight against jihadist insurgencies in the Sahel.

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