Panafrican News Agency

LEAD: ECOWAS Consultative meeting seeks 'finality' to Mali crisis

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Tuesday began a one-day consultative meeting on Mali after the military junta there failed to meet their 15 September deadline to put in place a civilian government in a 12-month transition arrangement.

The meeting is being hosted by Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the new ECOWAS chairman, at the Presidential Villa at Peduase, just outside Accra.

In his opening statement, President Akufo-Addo said there is the need to "bring finality to the deliberations on Mali", adding "we can't afford any delay to put in place a responsible government in Mali" after the 18 August coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita.

"Terrorists are taking advantage of the situation in Mali and are flexing their muscles," the Ghanaian leader said. 

He noted that Tuesday is the deadline for the military junta to meet a one-week ECOWAS deadline to put in place a civilian government for a 12-month transition but this has not happened.

The meeting is also being attended by a delegation of the Mali junta headed by its leader Colonel Assimi Goita and President Akufo-Addo said he had invited them for to listen to them.

He hopes the face-to-face meeting will "bring finality" to the Malian crisis.

President Akufo-Addo thanked the junta for allowing ousted President Kéita to seek medical treatment abroad. He flew to the UAE after suffering a mild stroke.

The meeting will hear briefings from the ECOWAS mediator on Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and the ECOWAS president.

The Malian junta, National Committee for the People’s Salvation (CNPS), held a three-day national consultation on the transition that ended last Saturday with the adoption of a Transition Charter and roadmap under which Mali will have a transition government for 18 months.

The 500 participants recommended the president of the transition government could either be a civilian or military officer.

It said the transition government would, among other things, have a vice-president, a maximum of 25 ministers, a council which will be the legislative body made up of 121 members from the defence and security forces and all sectors in the country.

However, the main opposition movement, whose persistent demonstrations against President Kéita triggered the coup, has dissociated itself from the final Transition Charter saying the conclusions do not reflect the views and decisions of the people.

The 5 June Movement–Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), said the final document produced at the end the meeting particularly does not recognise its role and the martyrs of the fight for the Malian people for change.

The charter does not also take into consideration the majority view for the transition to be chaired by a civilian and also the choice of a civilian Prime Minister.

In a communiqué issued on Saturday, the M5-RFP condemned the unilateral decision that includes several points of the document which were neither discussed nor agreed and denounced the intimidation, anti-democratic and unfair practice of another era against which the fight for change was launched.   

"The desire to grab and confiscate power for the benefit of the National Committee for the People’s Salvation (CNSP), the junta which seized power last 18 August, cannot justify the methods used, which weaken the transition process," said the communiqué.

The leader of the CNPS briefed the Ghanaian President on the situation in Mali on Monday evening with Colonel Major Ismaël Wagué, spokesman of the junta, telling reporters that the Malian delegation had come to the meeting to explain in person the will expressed by the Malian people through national consultations.

"We want ECOWAS to accept the conclusions of this consultation and help us build Mali," he said.

-0- PANA MA 15Sept2020