At the head of a West African delegation that arrived in Bamako on Saturday, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said he was “very optimistic” about the talks with the junta that seized power in Mali on Tuesday after overthrowing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
“Very optimistic”: it is with these two words that former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathana summed up talks that began on Saturday 22 August with junteaupouvoir au Malia after overthrowing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
“We have seen President Keita, he is doing very well,” Goodluck Jonathan said on Saturday night, the designated mediator of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with a mandate to “ensure the country’s immediate return.” Constitutional order “in the Sahelan country “The interviews are going well,” he added with a smile, before rushing into the hotel suite.
Earlier, ECOWAS envoys had been received for about thirty minutes by members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, including the country’s new strongman, Colonel Assimi Goïta. “The discussions took place in a very open atmosphere and we felt a desire to really move forward,” said Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission tonight.
“ECOWAS ‘role is mainly to support Mali. The solution that we must find, and I think everyone agrees on, is a solution that satisfies Malians first and is also beneficial to all countries in the sub-region,” he added. Discussions with junta, which “started well”, will continue on Sunday and “we hope to complete everything on Monday”.
“We are open to discussions”
According to military spokesman Ismaël Wagué, “the exchange with ECOWAS is changing very well”. “We understand that heads of state, such as the Ivorian Alassane Ouattara, are working for relaxation, for a peaceful solution, even though they have condemned our takeover. We are open to discussions,” said another source within the junta.
The West African envoys also went to Kati, a garrison town on the outskirts of Bamako that has become the center of the new power, where, according to this source, they met the personalities arrested by the military, including Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. , President of the National Assembly Moussa Timbiné and Chief of Staff of the Army, General Abdoulaye Coulibaly.
The delegation was to meet on Sunday morning with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and China).
Fourth delegation of ECOWAS in Bamako
Mali’s neighbors, who met in an extra summit, had called for “recovery” of President Keita on Thursday and decided to send this delegation to Bamako, the fourth of former President Goodluck Jonathan since the start of the socio-political crisis that has shaken Mali since the disputed legislative election in March-April.
Elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2018, President Keïta was hotly contested in the streets and a motley opposition movement demanded his resignation.
The announcement by the international community did not provoke a remarkable opposition to the military coup in Bamako. The Malians resumed operations the day after the coup and the national television set, ORTM, continues its programs.
The military power, largely trained in France, the United States or Russia, has promised to bring about a “political transition” quickly. They were cheered on Friday by thousands of people in central Bamako.
On Saturday morning, dozens of supporters of President Keita tried to demonstrate in Bamako, before being dispersed by police.
Occurrence of the 2012 coup
As political and diplomatic talks continue in Bamako, four soldiers were killed and one seriously injured on Saturday by an explosive device in the center of the country.
By March 2012, when the Tuareg rebels launched a major offensive in northern Mali, soldiers had already bribed the government’s inability to deal with the situation and expelled President Amadou Toumani Touré.
But the coup ended the fall of northern Mali at the hands of armed Islamist groups, until they were largely driven out by an international military intervention launched by France in January 2013 and still ongoing. .
Attacks by jihadist groups spread to the center of the country in 2015, causing heavy civilian and military casualties, and these attacks, mixed with inter-municipal violence, were also spilled over to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.
The inability of the Malian state to control large parts of its territory in the north and center has been condemned for months by opponents of President Keita. The coup plotters also justified their intervention, especially due to the uncertainty in the country and the lack of funds for the army.