The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday called on Mali’s new military government that seized power last month to appoint a civilian to head a transition government by September 15, reported Reuters.
The announcement was made following the 57th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, held on Monday in Niamey, Niger. Eight heads of state including Senegalese President Macky Sall, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo were present at the opening of Monday’s summit.
A group of military officials has ruled Mali since ousting former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last month. last week, Keita suffered a mini-stroke and flew out of Mali late on Saturday for medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates.
ECOWAS has already imposed sanctions on Mali after the coup, including closing borders and banning trade, and has called for elections within 12 months. It called for a “swift” transition to civilian rule i.e. electing a new non-military president and appointing a new prime minister within 12 months as a key condition in order to lift the imposed sanctions.
The military government had previously proposed a military-led transition back to civilian rule for two years, but ECOWAS commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has insisted it be led by a civilian president and prime minister for one year.
In the final statement of an ECOWAS summit, Brou said the military government should appoint Mali’s civilian transition president and prime minister no later than September 15.
“It is our community’s duty to help Malians towards the swift re-establishment of all democratic institutions. The military junta must help us to help Mali,” Niger’s President and ECOWAS’ current chairman, Mahamadou Issoufou, said at the start of a summit in Niamey.
“Other strategic partners of the Malian people have the same hope,” he said.