No ECOWAS/Mali agreement


West African mediators failed to persuade Mali military coup leaders to hand power to a civilian government during talks on Tuesday, the chairman of the regional bloc said.

Leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met the heads of a junta which on August 18 overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in the bloc’s latest attempt to speed the transition from military leadership.

ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions after the coup and said a new president should be appointed by Tuesday. Those actions and multiple diplomatic interventions appear to have had little effect, reinforcing the difficulty regional powers face in shaping events in the country.

“We have not reached agreement with the military junta,” said Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, acting ECOWAS chair. He said a mediating mission would return to Mali next week to resolve outstanding issues.

“We need a civilian leadership of the transition and also made it clear the minute that leadership input is in place sanctions would be lifted,” he said.

Before the talks began, Akufo-Addo said junta leaders needed to hand power to a transitional government immediately.

West African leaders have not said what the consequences would be for failing to meet the deadline. The sanctions include border closure and the suspension of financial flows, though these were eased so they did not hurt civilians.

The leaders would be willing to allow a transitional government for 18 months, longer than the original year asked for, Akufo-Addo said.