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Public Diplomacy

Togo’s Diplomacy: Audacity, Wisdom, and Prudence by Robert Dussey

Crowned by a string of successes, Togolese diplomacy proved to be very altruistic in 2023. Prof. Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, listed the actions which campaigned in favor of the preservation of sub-regional peace and security. In an interview given to the national press, Robert Dussey took stock of Togolese diplomacy annually.

The advent of coups in West Africa in recent years has caused a cooling of relations between the countries concerned and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mali, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso and very recently Niger have seen the established constitutional order shaken up by soldiers who came to power. To end the crisis, Togo had to adopt a flexible tone but one imbued with conviction and wisdom. By shaking up its diplomacy, Togo carried out good offices missions in the said countries in order to achieve a solution.

In the case between Mali and Ivory Coast regarding the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Bamako, Togolese mediation resulted in their release on Friday January 6. “Mediation and the search for peace are constants in Togo’s diplomatic action. In this register, the year 2023 began with good news, that of the release of Ivorian soldiers who were for many months the subject of a diplomatic crisis between Ivory Coast and Mali. There is no need to return to the major role that Togo played in the happy outcome of this crisis.”

From crisis to crisis, and from resolution to resolution, Togolese diplomacy also distinguished itself following the coup d’état overthrowing President Marc Christian Kaboré, then Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba. “Togo was also involved in overcoming the crisis in Burkina-Faso where I was received in audience on January 25, 2023 by His Excellency Captain Ibrahim TRAORE. You will remember that Togo still welcomes Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri DAMIBA on its soil, after the end of his regime, in order to contribute to preserving peace and stability in this neighboring country.

Far from running out of steam, Togolese diplomacy is building on its successes and has courageously taken on new challenges. On July 26, 2023, a new coup d’état extends the list of putsches. The democratically elected president of Niger, Mohammed Bazoum, has just been overthrown. ECOWAS is rebelling, and even wants to attack the country militarily to free the deposed president. But Togo remains cautious and is holding discreet talks with the authorities in place. To resolve the crisis, “Togo has opted for the path of wisdom by favoring dialogue and consultation as a way out of the crisis,” declared Prof. Robert Dusseh. But it was exactly on December 10 that the results of this Togolese initiative successfully came into the spotlight.

“Togo was designated with Sierra Leone during the 64th ordinary session of the conference of heads of state and government of ECOWAS as mediator. The transitional authorities have also designated our country as guarantor of the withdrawal of French forces from Niger,” added the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From conflict resolution to multilateralism, Togo has shown its desire to diversify its partners. The country’s entry into the Commonwealth and its interest in the BRICS remain significant. “In this dynamic, I attended from March 13 to 15, 2023 in London, the festivities marking “Commonwealth Day 2023”. I thus represented Togo at the BRICS summit which was held in South Africa in August 2023. I also took part in the meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 77+ China which was held in September 2023 in Havana, Cuba.

For Prof Robert Dussey, “one of the subjects of pride of Togolese diplomacy in this year 2023 is the signing in Apia on November 15, in the Republic of Samoa, of the Post-Cotonou Agreement between the Organization of States of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (OEAC) and the European Union.

On the Pan-Africanism aspect, the head of Togolese diplomacy announced the 9th Pan-African Congress which will be held in Lomé from October 29 to November 2, 2024 on the theme: Renewal of Pan-Africanism and the role of Africa in the reform of multilateral institutions: mobilizing the resources and reinvent yourself to act.

While saluting the diplomatic fiber of the President of the Republic Faure Gnassingbé, Professor Robert Dussey recognizes his pragmatism. For the head of Togolese diplomacy, the enthusiasm of the Head of State for the preservation of peace has contributed to the resolution of numerous crises. “This vision of His Excellency Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé is based on a clever balance between audacity, wisdom, responsibility and prudence,” he declared.

This article is originally published on lenouveaureporter.com

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