ECOWAS, a nationalist West African group, called on Mali 's new military government to seize power last month to appoint a civilian to lead a transition government by September 15. After the coup d'état of 18 August, the 15-nation West African States...
mali, africa, ecowas, coup
ECOWAS, a nationalist West African group, called on Mali 's new military government to seize power last month to appoint a civilian to lead a transition government by September 15.
After the coup d'état of 18 August, the 15-nation West African States Economic Community (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions against Mali, including closing borders and banning trade, and called for elections within 12 months.
A long, military-driven transition back to civilian rule has been proposed by the military government, but ECOWAS commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has insisted that it be headed by a civilian president and prime minister for a 12-month term.
"It will be difficult for the Malian authorities to reach an agreement that is acceptable to ... ECOWAS in the next few days to set up a transitional government, but if both sides make substantial concessions some kind of an agreement can be reached."
"It remains to be seen, however, if they can fulfill the tough conditions set by ECOWAS."
It was uncertain what sort of power ECOWAS has over the military rulers to force the deadline of 15 September, but the grouping could hold sanctions in place while monitoring the consultations between the military government and various factions in Mali.
Earlier ECOWAS released a new call for a 'swift' transition to civilian rule.
"It is the responsibility of our group to support Malians to restore all democratic institutions quickly, and the military junta [government] must support us to help Mali," Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou, the outgoing chair of ECOWAS, said at the start of a summit.
During last week's extraordinary ECOWAS summit on Mali, Issoufou suggested that sanctions would be "lifted gradually depending on the implementation" of steps which would allow a return to civilian rule.
Eight heads of state attended Monday's summit, including Senegalese President Macky Sall, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
Mali has long been fraught by chaos, violent struggle, ethnic strife and pervasive corruption by widespread unrest until last month a clique of rebel soldiers arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who had been killed.
After growing pressure from neighboring countries over concerns of even more chaos in the war-torn country, the military government held weekend talks with opposition groups about its commitment to give power over to civilians.
International powers warn that continuing political instability would further destabilize Mali and disrupt a joint war against armed groups in the broader Sahel.