West African Mediators Meet Mali Coup Leaders

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West African leaders arrived in Mali on Saturday to help guide the county in returning to civilian rule following a military coup last week.

“As ECOWAS, we appreciate what is happening in Mali and ECOWAS wants the best for the country,” former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. “We are here to discuss with all the key stakeholders and I believe at the end of the day we can get something that’s a success for the people and is good for ECOWAS and good for our community.”

The meeting took place at an undisclosed location.

Last week, coup leaders arrested the president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and the prime minister, Boubou Cissé, accusing them of corruption and nepotism.

Keïta was forced to resign.

“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” Keïta said in a televised speech. “I wish no blood to be shed to keep me in power,” he said. “I have decided to step down from office.”

At the time, regional bloc ECOWAS condemned “the overthrow by putschist soldiers of the democratically elected government” — ordering that all regional borders with Mali be closed, as well as the suspension of all financial flows between Mali and its 15 members states.

“Political patronage, the family management of state affairs, have ended up killing any opportunity for development in what little remains of this beautiful country,” said the spokesman, Ismaël Wague. “Mismanagement, theft and bad governance have become virtues.”

Recent developments from the mediation talk the military government wants a military-led transitional body to rule the country for three years.

A spokesman for the military junta, Wague, said: “We reached compromise on certain aspects and the negotiations will continue tomorrow.”

“We have been able to agree on a number of points but not yet on all the discussions,” Jonathan told reporters on Sunday night.

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