ECOWAS delegation’s meeting with Mali coup leaders lasts 20 minutes

A meeting between the Mali coup leaders and a highpowered delegation from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), led by Nigeria’s ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, ended after just 20 minutes.

The ECOWAS delegation has sought a return of the deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to power. Their meeting with the junta on August 22 was scheduled to last at least 90 minutes but ending early.

It is not clear whether the schedule had been changed or talks were cut short.

Since the military takeover, ECOWAS had taken a hard line on the coup as it shut down borders and halted financial flow.

Ahead of the meeting, Jonathan had sounded optimistic a compromise could be reached with the coup plotters. He reportedly said that he believes that at the end of the day the officials will come up with something that is best for the people and is good for ECOWAS and the international community.

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Media reports said the meeting held in the defence ministry, with the ECOWAS delegatin sitting at a long table opposite military government leader Assimi Goita.

Al Jazeera reported that ECOWAS is looking to resolve the impasse as soon as possible to prevent outside forces from plunging the country into a total crisis that could be exploited by armed fighters.

ECOWAS and coup leaders, who call themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), have yet to comment on the discussions.

Meanwhile, the president of Ivory Coast and Guinea are reportedly among those pushing for a tough ECOWAS response.

While referring to the outcome of the delegation’s visit, a regional diplomat reportedly said that reinstating Keita is ‘out of the question’.

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He said that the only thing the delegation can achieve is the transition. Under the rules of ECOWAS, the delegation should ‘midwife the transition’, added the diplomat.

Jonathan reportedly met Keita and said that he was doing relatively well.

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