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Monday, May 20, 2024

Sanctioned Mali to start flights to Guinea

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Sky Mali will on Saturday launch flights from Bamako to Conakry, the private airline company has said as Mali seeks to counter regional sanctions that have isolated the West African country.

Neighbours Mali and Guinea, both led by juntas after military coups, have stepped up efforts to cooperate to alleviate the sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS regional bloc in a bid to force early elections and a return to civilian rule.

Guinea was suspended by ECOWAS following the September 5 coup last year and has announced it will not close its land or air borders with Mali as decreed by the regional group.

Mali’s military government sent a sizeable delegation to Conakry on Monday and another team to neighbouring Mauritania on Tuesday.

Sky Mali commercial director Salifou Telly told AFP Tuesday the airline was launching the service to Conakry.

“Yes, it’s true, we will open the service on Saturday,” and run four flights a week, he said by telephone.

Sky Mali was set up as a private venture in 2020 to serve domestic airports across the sprawling nation.

It went on to open links with Benin and Gabon but had announced the suspension of all flights after the ECOWAS embargo.

Following two coups since 2020, Mali’s military reneged on a promise to hold elections next month, instead saying it could be up to five years before polls are held.

In response, leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on January 16, in a decision backed by the US, the EU and former colonial power France.

The Mali junta is working to minimise the impact of sanctions and says it remains open to dialogue.

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