The military junta in Mali must immediately hand over power to a transitional government led by a civilian, the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded on Tuesday, dangling a possible lifting of the sanctions imposed within a few days. in the Sahelian country in crisis.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) immediately calls for a transitional government in Mali.
In a statement released on Tuesday, September 15, at the end of a new summit on the Malian crisis in Peduase (eastern Ghana), ECOWAS leaders insisted that the leaders of the transition be civilians. They demanded that the junta be dissolved as soon as they were appointed. They note that the transition would be 18 months and not 12 as they required. They also say that the sanctions will be lifted immediately after the appointment of the leaders of the transition.
The meeting was held a month after the military coup that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on August 18. ECOWAS had initially called for a speedy return to constitutional order and had given the new champions of Bamako until Tuesday to appoint a president and a transitional minister to lead the country until civilian final return. that Mali is deeply divided on this issue and many others.
Signs of progress
The soldiers who made the trip to Peduase behind the junta’s commander, Colonel Assimi Goïta, did not disclose the name of the president or prime minister as the ultimatum approached.
However, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has shown signs of progress, at least in the eyes of the leaders of the West African organization for which he holds the rotating presidency. “The situation in Mali needs to be resolved quickly,” he told reporters after discussions that appear to have lasted several hours longer than expected. “For us, the transition must be led by civilians,” he said, “the moment this leadership is introduced, the sanctions imposed on Mali will be lifted by ECOWAS.”
ECOWAS will send a mediator back to Bamako next week and the Ghanaian president has expressed hope that the junta will then join ECOWAS ‘demands and allow him to lift the sanctions. “We hope we are talking about days and not weeks,” he added.
The junta, worried about a “reconstruction” of the state, has promised to return control to civilians after a transitional period. For several weeks, the Malians have been divided over the length of this period and who will lead it, civilian or military.
The colonel went to Ghana with a transitional charter describing the organization of this period. This important document provides a transition of 18 months. The president who would lead it would be a civilian or a soldier, but he would be appointed by a college set up by the junta. The Prime Minister was to be appointed by the President of the Transition. The president would be flanked by a vice-president in charge of defense and security issues, a post easily considered tailor-made for the junta top, Colonel Assimi Goïta.
The military validated this charter after consulting with a number of political and civil society actors last week. But the document is being questioned as a fulfillment of the June 5 movement. This motley coalition took thousands of Malians out into the streets for months against power on the ground, channeling the Malians’ uprising. The military finally ousted former President Keita on August 18. M5 requires to be placed on equal terms with the junta at a transition time.
Colonel Goïta told his interlocutors that he would now “go back and consult all those to whom the decision belongs and get their agreement,” the Ghanaian head of state said. The junta has not made any public comments on Peduase’s discussions.