ECOWAS Mediators Give Mali Transition Government 12 Month Ultimatum

West African mediators have told Mali’s coup leaders that the region would accept a transitional government led by a civilian or a retired army officer for a maximum of 12 months, Nigeria’s presidency says.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari received a briefing on the mediation efforts led by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.

“We told them that what would be acceptable to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months,” the presidency quoted Jonathan as saying in a statement.

But the leaders of the military coup told the mediators that they want to stay in power for a three-year transition period.

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The negotiators from ECOWAS were sent to Mali at the weekend to discuss a return to civilian rule with the military officers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the August 18 coup.

But three days of meetings ended without a decision on the structure of a transitional government.

On 18 August, soldiers marched through Mali’s capital, Bamako, and arrested Keïta.

Thousands later took to the streets of the capital, Bamako, to celebrate the coup, which sparked global condemnation.

Earlier this year, Keïta faced large demonstrations over corruption, mismanagement of the economy and disputed legislative elections.

There has also been anger among troops about pay and the conflict with militant insurgents in the north of the country, which has seen scores of soldiers killed in the past year.

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