With its relentless effort to restore constitutional order in conflict-hit Mali, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) continues mediation effort by signing an agreement with country’s military junta.
Reports say the Mali’s junta overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure in a coup.
With the agreement signed by both parties, the military junta agreed to hand over power to the National Assembly president, in return for the lifting of sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and an amnesty of its members from prosecution.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the (ECOWAS) in facilitating restoration of constitutional order in Mali.
Mr. Ban urged the military junta to immediately implement the accord it signed with the regional bloc.
He also called for the expeditious implementation of the terms of the Framework Agreement. That agreement provides for the transfer of power back to the constitutional authorities.
Last month, soldier mutineers launched a forcible seizure of power from the democratically-elected Government of Mali.
The Security Council called on the soldier mutineers to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials and demanded prompt release of those detained.
In the past week, the mutineers announced the dissolution of the Government and seized control of the country.
In his statement, Mr. Ban urged the junta to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials, to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees and to refrain from any actions that might undermine the effective implementation of the provisions of the Framework Agreement.
Said Djinnit visits Bamako
Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, visited Bamako, the capital, over the weekend to support mediation efforts led by the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, on behalf of ECOWAS.
“In the current context, the sooner constitutional order is restored and legitimate institutions are in place, the better it will be in order to allow the Government in Bamako to face the situation prevailing in the north and engage with relevant stakeholders in the search for a solution that preserves the country’s territorial integrity.” – Mr. Djinnit
During his visit, Mr. Djinnit met with the ECOWAS mediation team and the junta leader Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, as well as with leaders of political parties and civil society.
Mr. Djinnit says the signing of the agreement forms a basis for a transition that is expected to take the country to credible elections within a reasonable timeframe.
On February this year, thousands of refugees fled to neighbouring countries to escape from recent outbreak of conflict in northern Mali.
UN reports that thousands of refugees have entered Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Burkina Faso authorities has reported that 8,000 people have entered that country so far, many of them women and children.
The outbreak of conflict in northern Mali was caused by clashes between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.
Tuareg rebels launched a new rebellion in the north on 17th of January. Since then, troops have clashed with rebels in several northern towns.
Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade