Mali's caretaker President only recognised authority - ECOWAS

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President Désiré Ouedraogo has said Mali's caretaker President Dioncounda Traoré remains the only authority in the country that is recognised by the sub-regional body.

Speaking on the role of former Junta leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo, in a televised interview here Sunday night, Mr. Ouedraogo said: "We, ECOWAS, recognise the transitional authorities as the only legitimate authorities of Mali.

"The (ECOWAS) heads of state agreed to strengthen and consolidate this transition so that it can lead the people of Mali to the final victory over those who have chosen the path of violence and terrorism.

"ECOWAS has repeatedly stated its rejection of any military interference in the political process. For the regional grouping,  the role of the military is to defend the territorial integrity of the country and in all the democracies of the world, military authority is subject to the civil authority.''

The regional bloc is in the process of deploying 3,500 troops pledged by it  to the African-led International Support Mission for Mali (AFISMA) to help retake the northern part of the country from armed  Islamist groups.

Meanwhile, President Ouedraogo has said political dialogue remains necessary and unavoidable in Mali, despite the military intervention.

He said the military intervention in Mali, to stop a rebels' advance southwards, did not mean that dialogue has been excluded .

"This intervention does not mean that dialogue is excluded. However, this dialogue must be reorganised by excluding those who disqualified themselves by associating terrorism or resorting to the use of force and by turning down ECOWAS offer for dialogue," Mr. Ouedraogo said.
-0- PANA BAL/JSG/JEN/SEG 21Jan2013

21 january 2013 12:13:41

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