Soldiers who overthrew the democratic government of President Keita in Mali have declared that they want to remain in power for three years to arrange a political transition and review the foundations of the Malian state.
This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a source in the ECOWAS delegation in capital Bamako told AFP.
“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the junta’s proposal, the source said on condition of anonymity.
The source added that the junta has agreed to “free president Keita”, who has been detained along with other political leaders since the coup on Tuesday, and he “will be able to return to his home” in Bamako.
“And if he wants to travel abroad for treatment, that is not a problem,” the ECOWAS source said. Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, who has been detained with Keita at a military base outside the capital where the coup began, would be moved to a secure residence in the city, the source said.
A junta official confirmed to AFP the decisions on the fate of Keita and Cisse, as well as that “the three-year transition would have a military president and a government mostly composed of soldiers”.The soldiers have said it “completed the work” of the protesters and has vowed to stage elections “within a reasonable time”.
However many international observers, especially those in ECOWAS have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the visit by the delegation from the regional ECOWAS bloc was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.
Leaders of the military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita and mediators from West Africa’s regional bloc led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, met behind closed doors all day on Sunday.
“We have been able to agree on a number of points but not yet on all the discussions,” Jonathan told reporters on Sunday night after negotiations that lasted around nine hours. A spokesman for the military junta, Colonel Ismael Wague, said: “We reached compromise on certain aspects and the negotiations will continue tomorrow.”