Mali: Francophone bloc, ECOWAS pile pressure
The crisis in Mali remained unresolved Wednesday even as the Francophone bloc of nations joined in piling pressure on the military authorities that had ousted embattled president Ibrahim Keita and taken over control of the nation.
While the soldiers insist that talks are going on to set up a transitional government that could eventually be civilian dominated, the French-speaking bloc of nations says they have suspended Mali from their ranks in wake of the military coup while observing other developments.
The nations in the bloc, that are organised under the aegis of the International Francophone Organisation, OIF have also called for the release of the ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as well an early return to civilian rule.
In announcing the suspension of Mali from the bloc, the permanent council of the Francophone group however promised that several ongoing and current cooperation projects intended to directly benefit Mali’s civilian population in the Sahelian nation would not be affected by the measure.
The statement from the OIF equally stressed the need for continuing dialogue with the junta with a view to ensuring the reestablishment of democratic rule, even as it tended to agree with the Assimi Goita-led junta that the establishment of a broadly acceptable transitional civilian government is a matter of urgency.
Concluding, the group also revealed that it would itself be sending a high-level delegation to Bamako to evaluate the situation “in the next few days”.
Meanwhile, an emergency summit of ECOWAS heads of state is to be held on Friday to further hold talks on the continuing imbroglio in Mali.
Regional watchers say that the core issue on the table before the West African leaders at their parley on Friday would be whether to yet insist on the reinstatement of ousted President Keita or to accept the military junta’s preference for a new transitional government that would in turn supervise the return to full democratic rule in the country at a latter date.