UN Chief sues for dialogue amidst civil unrest in Mali

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for restraint and dialogue amidst growing civil unrest in Mali over alleged bad governance.

Guterres’ advice came in a statement on Saturday, a day after thousands of protesters hit the streets of Bamako, demanding resignation of President Boubacar Keita.

Friday’s angry protests were the second this month, according to Reuters news agency.

They are reportedly organised by opposition leaders over worsening insecurity, alleged poor handling of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and political tensions arising from disputed local elections in March.

In the statement, UN spokesman, Mr Farhan Haq, said the secretary-general was following the developments with concern.

“The Secretary-General calls on all political leaders to send clear messages to their supporters to exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from any action likely to fuel tensions.

“He also stresses the importance of dialogue and encourages all Malian actors to work inclusively and constructively to preserve the rule of law and respect fundamental rights.

“He expresses his full support for the ongoing efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and in particular for its declaration of June 19 calling for an inclusive dialogue,” Haq said.

Haq also quoted the UN Chief as reaffirming the organisation’s commitment to assisting Malians in their efforts to consolidate peace and democracy.