ECOWAS asks Mali’s military junta to appoint civilian govt. immediately

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has asked Mali’s military coup leaders to hand over power to a civilian transitional government immediately.

ECOWAS chairman and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo who spoke in Accra said deadline had expired for the ruling junta to appoint interim leaders.

The 15-member ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions after the August 18 coup that ousted President Ibrahim Keita, and said a new president should be appointed by Tuesday.

But the junta pushed through a charter on Saturday that says the interim president can be a soldier or a civilian and has not yet indicated when the new government would be named.

Regional presidents met junta leaders on Tuesday in Ghana in an attempt to quicken the transition.

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“Today is supposed to be the day that the junta is to put in place a government, which should respond to the criteria we set out in August.

“That has not been met,” said Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the acting ECOWAS chair, before the start of talks.

Regional leaders fear the coup could set a dangerous precedent in West Africa and undermine a fight in Mali and neighbouring countries in the Sahel region against militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“That country can no longer afford any delay in putting a responsible government in place,” he said.

West African leaders have not said what the consequences would be for failing to meet the deadline.

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The existing sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows.

The charter approved at multi-party talks in Mali also calls for an 18-month transition, while ECOWAS had said that fresh elections should be held within a year. (dpa/NAN)

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