ECOWAS high-level delegation sent to Bamako on Saturday to press its demands for Mali’s “immediate return to constitutional order” have ended mediation talks without a deal on how the country should return to civilian rule following last week’s coup.
The mediation team from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would report to heads of state on progress made before a summit on Mali later this week, Colonel Ismael Wague said on Monday, but the military spokesman added that the final decision on the makeup of an interim transitional administration would be decided “by Malians”.
He added that no timeline had been established for elections to return the country to civilian rule. The coup leaders previously said they would stage elections “within a reasonable time”.
Separately, the two sides meeting in the capital, Bamako, said Keita – whose return to office had been initially demanded by ECOWAS – no longer wished to resume duties.
Wague maintained that Keita, whose term was set to expire in 2023, had resigned of his own free will and not because he was under pressure from mutinous soldiers.
The ECOWAS delegation met the 75-year-old former president, who was being held at the military barracks in Kati, near the capital, Bamako.
“President Keita told us that he has resigned, that he was not forced to do so and that he does not want to return,” former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who led the delegation, said on Monday. “He says he wants a quick transition to allow the country [to] return as soon as possible to a civilian regime.”