Ecowas leaders fail to reach agreement with Mali junta

West African leaders have been unable to reach an agreement with military leaders of Mali who carried out a coup last month to topple the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

During talks on Tuesday in Ghana’s capital Accra, ECOWAS leaders could not persuade the soldiers to hand over power to a civilian government immediately.

The leader of Mali’s junta, Col Assimi Goita, as well as representatives from the United Nations and African Union also attended.

The chairman of the regional bloc said, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo told journalists that “We have not reached any agreement with the military junta.”

The Ecowas mediation team is expected to travel to Mali in the coming days to continue to push for results.

Mali has already been hit with sanctions and ECOWAS is hoping the political crisis can be resolved quickly so sanctions can be lifted.

“We need a civilian leadership of the transition and we have also made it clear that the minute that leadership input is in place…the sanctions…would be lifted,” President Akufo Addo said.

The sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows, though these were eased so they did not hit ordinary civilians.

The Ecowas leaders however said that they would be willing to allow a transitional government to stand for 18 months, longer than the original year the bloc demanded.

But Akufo-Addo said the transitional team would have to be headed by a civilian and not a military person.

Mali’s military junta also held talks with various factions for a transition to civilian rule.

The opposition over the weekend rejected a proposal to have a civilian or a military person assume the head of the transition government.

This is the fourth coup in the West African state since it gained independence from France in 1960.


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