President Akufo-Addo as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday asked soldiers who recently seized power to return to the barracks.
He disclosed this during a meeting of the leadership of the economic bloc to decide the fate of Mali after a military takeover which saw the forced resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
After several hours of meetings held behind closed doors, the leadership emerged with a resolute demand from leadership of the military junta, who pride themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People to immediately return the troubled West African country to civilian rule.
President Akufo-Addo, who called the emergency meeting to discuss and decide the political situation, told journalists after the meeting “the situation in Mali calls for a quick resolution; we have to have a government in place that can begin the process of normalising things.”
Present were leaders of eight out of the 15-member states of the ECOWAS including Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe; Senegalese President, Macky Sall; Burkinabe President Roch Mark Kabore; Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo; and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; Guinean President Alpha Conde and Ivorian President, Allasane Quatarra.
Also present was the President of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and the ECOWAS appointed Mediator in the Malian crisis and former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.
More than anything else, President Akufo-Addo said “organising the resistance in the terrorist menace and that is the reason why I decided that it will be a good thing for us to meet face-to-face with the military leaders in Mali so I could talk eyeball-to-eyeball.”
“It has happened, I believe in a successful manner. We have been able to reaffirm the position of ECOWAS. We need a civilian leadership of the transition and we have also made it clear that the minutes that leadership has put in place through the processes that they themselves have agreed on in Mali and the sanctions that have been placed against Mali, will be lifted by ECOWAS,” he said.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who was part of the meeting, could not give his word on the demands of the ECOWAS leaders.
He, however, asked to be allowed to go back and consult with all who mattered in the Malian affair to arrive at a decision.
Days after the military takeover, ECOWAS decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali after mutinying soldiers detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
It has also suspended all financial flows between its 14 other member states and Mali, including its internal decision-making bodies.
The bloc also said that its members would close land and air borders with Mali and pledged to demand sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators.”
In a week’s time, the ECOWAS appointed Mediator and former President of Nigeria has been tasked to go to Bamako, the capital of Mali, to see the state of affairs.
It is expected that by the time he gets there, the military leaders would have fulfilled their part of the agreed roadmap to return to civilian rule for the sanctions to be lifted.
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