By Lamin Cham
President Adama Barrow is among three West African leaders selected by the regional bloc Ecowas for the next engagement with the Military Junta in Mali.
The president will be joined on this mission by Nana Akufo- Addo of Ghana and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo designated to meet the interim president of Mali Colonel Assimi Goïta.
The delegation also includes the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray, also a Gambian.
The president will depart Banjul International Airport this morning at 9am.
The visit comes as ECOWAS leaders condemn the ongoing detention of 46 Ivorian soldiers in Mali, who have been held in the capital Bamako since July 10 on accusations of acting as mercenaries.
Ivory Coast, which has repeatedly called for their release, said the soldiers were deployed as part of a security and logistics support contract signed with the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
The ECOWAS leaders said Mali is using “blackmail” in their negotiations with Ivorian authorities and said several heads of state from the region will travel to Mali to negotiate for the soldiers’ unconditional release.
A source close to Ecowas Banjul office told The Standard that the issue of the Ivorian soldiers is almost certainly central to the visit.