UN chief Guterres urges West African juntas to return to civilian rule

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged military juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali to return power to civilian rule as soon as possible. He also reminded the world to keep its “climate emergency” promises.

Speaking after meeting Senegalese President Macky Sall in Dakar on Sunday, Guterres said they agreed on the need to continue talking to the de facto authorities of the three countries in order to achieve a speedy return to “constitutional order “.

All three countries, grappling with a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, have recently experienced military coups: Mali in August 2020 and May 2021; Guinea in September 2021; and Burkina Faso in January 2022.

Sall is the current president of the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has suspended the three countries from membership.

Juntas ignore ECOWAS pressure

ECOWAS imposed heavy sanctions on Mali in January after the regime there rejected a rapid return to civilian rule.

He threatened similar sanctions against Guinea and Burkina Faso if they do not allow a rapid transition to civilian rule within a “reasonable” time.

However, the military regimes of both countries have rejected the timetable established by ECOWAS.

Last Monday, Ouagadougou said it had no plans to shorten the three-year transition period it had already announced.

On Saturday evening, Guinean junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said he would implement a 39-month transition period to civilian rule.

The announcement was strongly condemned on Sunday by Guinean opposition leaders, including ousted President Alpha Conde’s party and groups that had opposed it.

The Malian regime also continues to defy pressure from ECOWAS.

On April 21, he announced the launch of a two-year transition “process” before elections are held.

ECOWAS had convened ballot boxes within a maximum period of 16 months.


The climate crisis must be tackled

Addressing the issue of global warming, António Guterres said that “the climate emergency…increases the security risk” on the continent.

According to António Guterres, African countries are “often the first victims” of global warming for which they are “not responsible”.

Developed countries have pledged to help countries in the southern hemisphere finance their “transition to renewable energy and green jobs”, he noted.

“It’s time to act. It’s time to keep the pledge of $100 billion a year made in Paris,” he said, referring to national pledges under the 2015 Paris Agreement. aimed at limiting global warming to below 2° Celsius.

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