Twenty-four hours after initially announced, the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, launched on Wednesday his national dialogue initiative, nine months ahead of presidential elections in February next year.
In his address, Macky Sall pledged to be firm in the face of growing tensions.
"There can be no democracy without freedom, just as there can be no freedom without responsibility. Every piece of physical violence, every piece of verbal violence, every word of hatred, every piece of private or public property ransacked and, above all, every Senegalese killed is a deep wound to our country, and no one should imagine that they are greater or stronger than this Nation that shelters us all. Together with all the socio-political components that are keen on peace, stability and national cohesion, we must jointly defend our model of society. This is one of the fundamental reasons for this national dialogue", said the president of Senegal, Macky Sall.
The presidential initiative takes place against a background of popular unrest in the run-up to a court verdict against political opponent Ousmane Sonko.
Some opposition parties have reacted by denouncing the presidential dialogue and announcing the launch of a counter-dialogue.
President Macky Sall is yet to announce if he is going to run for a controversial third mandate.