Panafrican News Agency

ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on Mali begins

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (PANA) - The conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began its work on the Malian crisis by videoconference on Thursday morning, under the chairmanship of Mahamadou Issoufou, its current chairman, official sources in Ouagadougou told PANA.

The extraordinary summit focuses on the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's regime on Tuesday by the military who set up a National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNPS), which has pledged to hold free and transparent elections in nine months.

In his opening speech at the summit, President Mahamadou Issoufou noted that this seizure of power took place in "a difficult security context for our region, in general, and for Mali, in particular".

The Nigerien Head of State recalled the intense diplomatic efforts deployed by ECOWAS to overcome the political crisis that Mali is going through, following the disputed legislative election of 19 April 2020.

"This serious situation whose security consequences on our region and on Mali are obvious is a challenge to us. It shows us the road that remains to be travelled for the establishment of strong democratic institutions in our area," he said.

He expressed the hope that the Summit would succeed in taking "relevant and strong decisions commensurate with the gravity of the situation in Mali".

The military, which has seized power in Mali, has taken several decisions, including the setting up of a transitional college composed of representatives of the various forces of the nation and the organization of free and transparent legislative and presidential elections as well as a referendum.

The international community as a whole has condemned the coup in a country that has been already plagued by terrorism.

-0- PANA TNDD/JSG/BBA/MA 20Aug2020