Talks Between West Africa Mediators, Mali Coup Leaders Enter 2nd Day

Talks between a West African delegation and military officers who overthrew former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita earlier this week have entered a second day.

The talks is being spearheaded by former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

The delegation from the regional ECOWAS bloc met military officers led by Colonel Assimi Goita behind closed doors for several hours on Sunday morning.

Jonathan told journalists as he stepped out during a break, without elaborating that “The discussions are going very well,”

A senior officer close to the coup leaders told journalists that the morning’s discussion had focused on the sanctions the bloc imposed on Mali, which include suspending trade and closing borders, following Tuesday’s coup.

Another officer said the delegation had made proposals which would be examined.

The overthrow of Keita, known as IBK, was welcomed by many in Mali, which had been rocked by months of protests calling for his resignation amid widespread discontent over alleged corruption and worsening security in large parts of the country where affiliates of al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) are active.

“For more than three hours, the junta and the ECOWAS delegation have been discussing the fate of President IBK and the return to a normal constitutional order,”

Neighbouring countries have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the visit by the 15-member ECOWAS delegation was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

Mali’s new military rulers have welcomed the visit but have not talked of restoring Keita to power.

Keita took office after winning a 2013 election, presenting himself as a unifying figure and promising to tackle corruption. He was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.

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