Military, ECOWAS fail to reach agreement on Mali transitional government

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Talks between West African mediators and Mali’s military junta reportedly ended without any decision on the make-up of a transitional government.

A delegation dispatched by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and led by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Mali on Saturday to negotiate the release of President Ibrahim Keita and the restoration of constitutional government.

Earlier, the junta had said it wants a military-led transitional body to rule for three years.

But talks on Monday had reportedly focused on who would lead Mali and for how long “rather than the possibility of reinstating the President”.

Jonathan had earlier said they requested and were granted access to Keita. “President Keita told us that he has resigned. That he was not forced to do so.

“That he does not want to return to politics and that he wants a quick transition to allow the country to return to civilian rule,” Jonathan said.

However, Ismael Wague, spokesman for the military junta, said mediators would report to regional heads of state ahead of a summit on Mali this week, adding that the final decision on the interim administration would be decided locally.

“There were discussions on both sides, given that at this stage nothing has been set down, nothing has been decided, and that as far as we are concerned, the final architecture of the transition will be discussed and defined by us,” Wague said.

“Mediators will discuss this with the heads of state so they can lift or at least ease the sanctions. Sanctions are not good for us or the population.”

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