The United States on Thursday called on the Malian transition government to take steps toward holding elections, adding to pressure on military leaders in Mali to restore democracy.
The West African country's military leaders toppled the government and failed to keep a promise to hold elections in February, prompting sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The length of the transition has also caused a rift with Mali's partners including the United States and former colonial power, France.
"We urge the Malian transition government to make sustained, tangible action toward holding elections, including detailed benchmarks and the early adoption of the electoral law," a U.S. State Department spokesperson on Thursday.
On Monday, a spokesman for Mali's military junta said it would take 24 months from March 2022 to restore civilian rule after an August 2020 coup.
Mali's putsch leaders and regional heads of state have been at odds over a proposed five-year election timeline that was then revised to two — a delay that was previously rejected as too long by ECOWAS.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS said on Tuesday that it regretted the decision by Mali's interim government to extend the transition back to civilian rule by 24 months while negotiations between the two sides were ongoing.