Mali: ECOWAS Peace Talks Deadlocked As Junta Insists On Ruling For 3 Years

August 25, 2020
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The junta that seized power in Mali has said that it wants a military-led transitional body to rule for three years.

A delegation led by former President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Mali weekend to negotiate the release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the restoration of constitutional government.

The delegation was set up by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following the political crisis in Mali.

According to agency report, a source in the ECOWAS delegation said that Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, who was detained alongside Keita at a military base outside the capital, would be moved to a secure residence in the city.

“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” the source was quoted to have said.

“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers.” The source added that the junta has agreed to “free President Keita” and “he will be able to return to his home” in Bamako.

Meanwhile, talks between West African nations and Mali’s new junta ended yesterday without a deal on how the country should return to civilian rule following last week’s coup, the two sides said.

Separately, they also said that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita — whose return to office had been initially demanded by the regional bloc ECOWAS — no longer wished to resume duties.

The August 18 coup triggered shockwaves among Mali’s neighbours, fearing that one of the region’s most volatile countries would spiral into chaos.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States  sent a high-level delegation to Bamako on Saturday, led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, to press its demands for the “immediate return to constitutional order.”

The talks have focused on the transition to civilian rule. “There were discussions on both sides, given that at this stage nothing has been set down, nothing has been decided, and that as far as we are concerned, the final architecture of the transition will be discussed and defined by us,” said the junta’s spokesman, Colonel Ismael Wague.

Jonathan said: “We have agreed on a number of issues, but there are some issues that we have not agreed. So on those issues we told the military officers the thinking of ECOWAS and we asked them to go and review.”

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