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Mali Coup d’État : Military proposes three-year transition

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 24 August 2020 17:12

Mali Crisis
Representatives of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, left of table, including Col. Assimi Goita, center of row, who has declared himself the group's leader, meet with a high-level delegation from the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, right of table, at the Ministry of Defense in Bamako, Mali, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.(AP Photo)

The junta that took power in Mali proposed on 23 August to the ECOWAS delegation a three-year transition, led by a military officer.

“The junta said it wants to make a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be led by a body chaired by a military officer, who will also be head of state,” a source in the delegation of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) told AFP at the end of the second day of negotiations with the new team in power in Bamako. A member of the junta confirmed to the AFP “the three years of transition with a military president.

According to the same ECOWAS source, the junta agreed to “release President Keïta”, whom it has held since the coup d’état last Tuesday, “who will be able to return to his home” in Bamako. “And if he wishes to travel for treatment, there is no problem,” said the source.

As for Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, arrested at the same time as President Keïta and detained in the military camp of Kati, in the suburbs of the capital, “we have obtained from the junta that it agrees that he is in a secure residence in Bamako,” added this West African official. All information confirmed by the source of the junta.

The second day of negotiations led to progress without a full agreement, and were due to resume on Monday. “We were able to agree on some points but not on all points of discussion,” said the head of the West African delegation, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who was mandated by ECOWAS to try to restore “constitutional order” in Mali, after several hours of meetings.

IBK had been forced to announce his resignation during the night of  Tuesday 18 August to Wednesday after being arrested by the military. On Saturday, several ECOWAS envoys were able to meet with the deposed head of state. “We saw President Keïta,” confirmed Goodluck Jonathan, who said: “It’s okay.

READ MORE Mali: President Keïta resigns in TV broadcast after his arrest

Previously, the ECOWAS envoys had been received for about thirty minutes by members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) set up by the junta, including the country’s new strong man, Colonel Assimi Goïta.

The acclaimed soldiers

The President of the Ecowas Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, who hopes to “be able to finalse everything by Monday”, stressed the military’s “willingness to really move forward”. “We need results because on 26 August, the heads of state of ECOWAS will meet to see if we will increase sanctions against the junta or if we loosen our grip,” explained a member of the delegation.

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, center, is welcomed by spokesman for the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) Ismael Wague, left, and CNSP official Malick Diaw, center-right, upon his arrival at the airport in Bamako, Mali Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020. (AP Photo)

Mali’s neighboring countries, meeting in an extraordinary summit, had demanded on Thursday 20 August the “restoration” of IBK and decided to send this delegation to Bamako, the fourth of former President Goodluck Jonathan since the beginning of the crisis that has shaken Mali since the disputed legislative elections in the spring.

READ MORE Mali Coup d’État: The soldiers who brought down IBK

Elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2018, IBK was strongly contested in the streets, through a mixed opposition movement demanding his resignation.

The military in power, mostly trained in France, the United States or Russia, promised to quickly put in place a “political transition”. They were cheered on Friday by thousands of people in central Bamako.

On Saturday morning, several dozen supporters of President Keïta attempted to demonstrate in Bamako, before being dispersed by the police.

Denounced by the international community, the military coup d’état did not generate any notable opposition in Bamako. The Malians resumed their activities the day after the putsch and the national television station, ORTM, continued its programmes.

READ MORE ‘There has been no coup d’état in Mali’ – Ismaël Wagué, CNSP spox

The military in power promised to quickly put in place a ‘political transition’. They were cheered on Friday by thousands of people in the center of Bamako.

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