ECOWAS heads to meet on Wednesday as talks with Mali Junta fail
Efforts by the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to find a political solution and return Mali to civil rule ended Monday without resolving when the military will arrange elections or release the detained ex-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Keita has been in captivity since his arrest on Aug. 18 when he was ousted by a military junta.
Talks between the junta and the delegations of the West coast leaders failed to arrive at a clear resolution on the political impasse in Mali.
West African heads of state are now expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the way forward for the land lock country.
“Our advice is that the transition doesn’t drag on,” Nigerien Foreign Minister Kalla Ankourao told Radio France Internationale late Monday.
“We want a civilian at the helm of a transitional authority or at least a retired army officer. They proposed two years this morning. We think this is too long.”
Keita, 75, dissolved his government and resigned under pressure from soldiers who detained him hours after staging a mutiny at an army barracks on the outskirts of Bamako, the capital.
Previous mediation efforts by ECOWAS leaders failed to resolve the impasse between Keita’s government and a popular protest movement that had demanded he step down in the weeks leading up to the military takeover.
The junta wants political parties, civil society, religious groups and the army to decide on the structure of any transitional government, spokesman Ismael Wague told closely held Horon TV on Monday.
“We won’t decide anything,” Wague said, denying reports that the junta plans to head the transition. “It is the Malians together who will decide.”