Mali’s ruling junta submits new timetable for return to civilian rule

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Mali’s ruling military junta on Saturday submitted a new proposed timetable for a return to civilian rule, on the eve of a high-stakes West African summit convened to discuss the political crisis in the country.

Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop made the announcement ahead of the summit, during which leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were to discuss sanctions against Bamako.

The junta had previously proposed a five-year deadline, an idea rejected last week by ECOWAS, as well as a large coalition of the country’s political parties.

ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan had previously called on the regime to revise the plan during a visit to Mali last week, Diop said.

Diop and Malian government spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga traveled to Accra on Saturday to submit the new proposals to the regional bloc’s interim president, Ghanaian leader Nana Akufo-Addo, state television reported.

The TV report gave no details on the content of the revised proposal.

The situation in Mali has aroused growing international concern since the coup d’état led by Colonel Assimi Goita in August 2020 against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Under threat of sanctions, Goita subsequently pledged to hold presidential and legislative elections and restore civilian rule by February 2022.

But he staged a second de facto coup in May 2021, forcing an interim civilian government and declaring himself interim president.

The country is in the throes of a jihadist insurgency and large swathes of the country are out of government control.

(AFP)

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