Tag Archives: Bamako

ECOWAS-Mali reunion in Ghana

President Nana Akufo-Addo, Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold an urgent meeting on deepening Mali political crisis, involving key stakeholders on September 15, Tuesday.

The extraordinary meeting is expected to re-establsih dialogue on ways of an effective returning Mali to constitutional rule

The meeting is an integral part of the mediation efforts to prevent further deterioration of the Malian political crisis
The meeting will bring together delegation from nine African countries including, representatives of Mali military rules, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and relevant public figures who encouraged the demonstrations prior to the coup d’etat on August 18, 2020, that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government.

The opposition coalition M5-RFP which led mass protests in Mali ahead of last month’s coup has rejected the transition Charter agreed with ECOWAS to establish an 18-month interim government until the free and fair elections could take place.

The announcement followed three days of the intense talks with opposition and civil society groups.

The M5-RFP group, lacking confidence in officers intentions, said the Charter was an attempt by military leaders to “grab and confiscate power.”

“It concerns in particular the profile of the president of the transition who must be a civilian and non-military personality, since this would subject us to the sanctions of the international community, hence ECOWAS, and the terms and conditions for the appointment of this president. And we have heard that it would be by a panel whereas this aspect was never debated in the plenary.” Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga, one of the leaders of the June 5 Movement explained.

Concerning the meeting is planned on in Accra between ECOWAS and Mali, it is not clear at this point in time if the leader of the military coup d’etat Assimi Goita will take risks to leave Bamako.

Regional powers worried that political instability will undermine a years-long fight against Islamists groups in Sahel, have pushed for a swift transition back to civilian rule.

ECOWAS has warned the military government must designate a civilian leader to head a one-year transition period by September 15 or else the country could face further sanctions, however the initial demands have changed, and there was an understanding that the interim President could be a military as well.

Mali crisis: EU fully supports ECOWAS

‘The EU is following closely the national consultations in Bamako, and in the region. These consulations should be inclusive to reflect the aspirations of the Malian people, and they should come to the conclusion as soon as possible, leading to a rapid transition of power led by the civilians. The EU fully supports the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] heads of states demands of the transition led by a civilian President and a civilian Prime Minister to ensure the return to the Consitutional order within the period of one year», the European External Action Service spokesperson said, while reacting upon the political crisis in Mali, and the ultimatum of the ECOWAS, demanding from the military commanders to appoint a civilian head of state on September 15 the latest.

Mali’s military commanders have begun talks with opposition groups on its promised transition to civilian rule after mounting pressure in recent weeks to transfer power.

The officers, who overthrew unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a coup d’état in August, pledged to step down after an undefined transition period, but the this vague perspective caused concerns of the neighbours and former colonial ruler France, demanding a swift transfer of power to civilian rule, fearing Mali could serve as a negative model for the other states in the region.

The 15-nation regional bloc ECOWAS had imposed sanctions and closed borders to Mali as part of efforts to press the military, led by Colonel Assimi Goita, 37, who is the head of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) into handing over power swiftly, and without further delay.

Influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, a key figure in the mass opposition protests that led to President Keita’s downfall, has insisted that the military government does not have “carte blanche”.

ECOWAS is calling for a swift return to civilian rule and a vote within a year, a timeline the officers united in the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), has yet not committed to.

ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said both the President and the Prime minister shoud be appointed by September 15 the latest.

Some Malian political leaders have insisted, along with the ECOWAS, that the interim president is a civilian, but the according to different sources the recommendation of experts said these persons can be a military or a civilian.

The candidate must be not younger than 35, but not older than 75 and would not be eligible to stand for election at the end of the transition period, the quoted expert document said.

Ghana will host a mini-summit of ECOWAS leaders next Tuesday, September 15, a spokesperson for Ghana’s Foreign ministry said. At present there is no information about the steps and measures to be undertaken if the Malian officers refuse to comply with the ECOWAS demands.

EU suspends Mali training mission

European Union has suspended its training missions in Mali after the coup d’état this month that removed unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from power, EU officials said on August 26.

The two missions training Mali’s army and police as part of international efforts to stabilise Mali and extend the state’s authority are frozen because they were designed to support “the legitimate national authorities,” one EU official said.

Officials added the suspension was temporary.

West African (ECOWAS) neighbours holding talks with the officers in command are discussing the possibility of a transitional civil government, which could allow the EU to eventually resume training in partnership with the United Nations. Initially, ECOWAS was insisting on re-instated the ousted President Keita, in spite of the months of protests of Malians demanding his resignation. According to experts the endemic corruption has been the most typical feature of his mandate, considered by Malians as «wasted time», when 40% of state funds vanished.

EU defence ministers meeting in Berlin on August 26 will discuss the situation in Mali, the officials said.

Established in late 2012 to assist Mali’s army regain control of the country after France drove out Islamists in the north, the EU military mission (EUTM Mali) has more than 600 soldiers from 28 European countries including EU and non-member states.

Its headquarters in Mali’s capital Bamako was targeted by insurgents in 2016, although no personnel were hurt.

Gymnich: attention to Mali

On August 26-27 the EU Foreign ministers might discuss the situation in Mali at their informal meeting in Berlin in the Gymnich format said the spokesperson for the bloc foreign affaris. The Foreign Ministers of the EU member states will have an opportunity to engage in an informal dialogue in a spirit of trust on current issues in the area of European foreign policy.

«The EU has condemned the coup [d’état] as the other African parities, and our priority now is to come up with the solution that is in line with the wishes of the people of Mali, so dialogue is only way to come out of this crisis in Mali, and the EU is remindig that the Consitutuional order must be established quickly by bringing back power to the civilian representatives as it has been said in the context of the CNSP [National Committe for the Salvation of the People] in order to meet the aspirations of the people of Mali.
«We would like to support the work which has been done by the ECOWAS, and thay are continuing to do so
” the spokesperson of the European External Action Service said (pictured).

On Monday, August 24 Mali’s military commanders and ECOWAS regional mediators discussed the roadmap and goals of a transitional leadership rather than the possibility of reinstating the ousted president, the initial proposal that was definitely refused. The meeting reportedly ended without an agreement of the timetalbe of the transiation, and new elections.
Initially, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, had sought to put pressure on the officeers to reinstate the uppopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita — also known as IBK for short, and widely criticised for the endemic corruption in the country, reaching 40% of state funds diverted to private pockets.

However, from the beginning of the talks the diplomats understood that IBK reinstatement is highly unlikely giventhe popularity of the coup d’état leaders among the population, and the support they gave to the officers in their actions against the President and the government. At present the #CNSP is insisiting that the swit organisation of election is not their aim, because it will not introduce the profound democratic change the people of Mali demand. The CNSP are not prepared to commit themselves to a scheduled elections timetalbe and follow it at any cost, although they understand it is the prference of the negihgours and the internaitonal community to have a democratically elected government without delay.

Mali CNSP-ECOWAS focus on roadmap

Talks between West African ECOWAS mediators and Mali’s military commanders ended on August 24 after three days of discussions without any decision on roadmap for a transitional government, the Malian spokesman said.

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS mandated negotiators with the officers of the Mali National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) during the weekend in a bid to reverse President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s removal from power last week. However facing the refusal of the officers to return to the past, the initial plan did not withstand criticism, and further talks had focused on transitional goverment and the roadmap to elections, rather than the possibility of reinstating the unpopular president, diplomats said.

The protracted uncertainty would represet risks of the aggravation of the political crisis in Mali which, along with the other countries in the Sahel region, is facing a security threat from Islamist militants, expanding their scope of opearations.

Colonel Ismael Wague said mediators would report to the heads of state in West Africa ahead of a summit on Mali this week but, highlighting the popular backing the soldiers relay on, the final decision on the interim administration would be decided by Malians.

Nothing has been decided. Everyone has given their point of view,” Wague told reporters. “The final decision of the structure of the transition will be made by us Malians here.”

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who led the regional mediation team, said they requested and were granted access to Keita.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told us that he has resigned. That he was not forced to do so. That he does not want to return to politics and that he wants a quick transition to allow the country to return to civilian rule,” Jonathan told reporters, commenting on the situation of the unpopular ousted former President.

The negotiations were taking place with under threat of regional sanctions hanging over the officers known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).

[Mediators] will discuss this with the heads of state so they can lift or at least ease the sanctions. Sanctions are not good for us or the population,” Wague said.

“This coup must be seen first and foremost in the context of the crisis in Mali. And what is urgent today is not to make mistakes when defining the modalities of the transition which opens after the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK). ECOWAS is already clearly insisting on the priority to be given to the return to constitutional order and the rapid organization of elections, and therefore to a transition that is as short as possible. It is a path that would be unproductive at best, dangerous at worst” writes Mathieu Olivier for Jeune Afrique newspaper.

“Organizing elections to get out of political crises, violent conflicts, periods of transition after a coup d’etat, is a recipe that we like. It generally has the approval and even the preference of the most influential external partners in search of interlocutors who would be legitimate because they are democratically elected. We then wait for miracles to happen, for political and economic governance to change after an election, no matter who the elected president is, no matter how good the electoral process is, and no matter how empty the pre-election political debate is” Olivier warns, insisting that imposing swift elections is not the best of solution of problems of Mali.

The regional branch of West Africa’s BCEAO central bank reopened on August 24, Monday.

ECOWAS delegation visit to Mali

A delegation from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is expected to arrive in Bamako on Saturday, August 22 after the bloc held an emergency summit on the situation in Mali.

ECOWAS has already suspended Mali’s membership, shut off borders and halted financial flows to the country.

The military commanders in Bamako, Mali captial, said they acted without further delay because the country was sinking into chaos and insecurity, which was largely the fault of the poor government. They have promised to oversee a transition to free and fair elections within a “reasonable” period of time.

Their spokesman Ismael Wague said on August 20 that the officers were holding talks with political leaders that would resume in the appointment of a transitional president.

They have detained Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at base not far from the captial, imposing the dissolution of parliament and his own resignation.

A United Nations human rights team visited Keita and 13 other senior figures held by the officers late on the same day August 20, spokeswoman Liz Throssell said.

“There are no indications that these people have been ill-treated,” she told a news briefing in Geneva, where she called for their release.

On Friday, August 21, the officers freed Finance Minister Abdoulaye Daffe and the president’s private secretary, Sabane Mahalmoudou, the head of Keita’s party Bocary Treta said.

Mali officers propose civil transition

After months of civil unrest, and absence of any meaningful response to the demands of the people, Mali military took the lead announcing their plan to nation on moving towards a civil and political transition.

International agreements will be respected, including the agreement with the Tuareg rebels. The resolutions of the national dialogue will be implemented. Credible and transparent elections will be organized, the group of officers said in a TV statement.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation on the night of August 18-19, explaining that he had no choice but to submit to the will of his rebelling army to prevent blood from being spilled.

President Keïta, arrested in the company of his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé at the end of the afternoon and taken to the military camp from which a mutiny had started at the start of the day, appeared around midnight on public television ORTM, wearing a mask on the mouth.

Political tension has been accumulating since Keita won re-election in August 2018 in a poll that opposition parties said was marred by irregularities.

The government pushed ahead with a legislative election in March despite the coronavirus outbreak, causing further discontent after the Constitutional Court overturned 31 of the results. That decision handed Keita’s party 10 more parliamentary seats, making it the largest bloc.

Also in March, unidentified gunmen abducted Mali’s main opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse, as he campaigned in the country’s volatile centre. There is no inforamtion about him ever since.

EU condemns coup d’état in Mali

“The European Union condemns the coup d’état attempt underway in Mali and rejects any anti-constitutional change. This can in no way be a response to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months” the statement of the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell on events in Mali.

“In consultation with its partners in the international community, particularly ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations, the EU calls for dialogue. A consensual outcome, while respecting constitutional principles, international law and human rights is the only way to avoid destabilization not only of Mali but of the entire region. The EU continues to give its full support to the mediation undertaken by ECOWAS. Contacts are underway to better understand the situation and decide on the next steps in the action of the international community”. Image above: illustration, Mali.

AMENDED: “Mutineering soldiers have detained Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, one of their leaders has told @AFP.

“We can tell you that the president and the prime minister are under our control,” the leader said.

There are unverified reports by local media, that coup État in Bamako was possibly organised by Colonel Sadio CAMARA (DIAW) and his troops. Heavily armed vechicles were on the way to center of Bamako. According to local sources several ministers have been arrested. President Keita was evacuated to a military base.

French Minister of Foreign Affaires Jean-Yves le Drian issued a statement, condemining the unconsitutional power grab in Mali.

AMENDED: A rebellion broke out at an army base in Kati, outside capital city Bamako. The rebels arrested a number of ministers, including foreign and finance ministers, and the parliament speaker.

According to the Malijet news website, the rebels are led by Colonel Sadio Camara, former director of a military school at the Kati military base. The Malian General Staff is also reportedly controlled by the rebels, with a number of senior officers being arrested.

Several sources point to the Colonel Sadio CAMARA from DIAW has been leading the coup d’état.

AMENDED: the residence of the President Keita is occupied by a celebrating crowed, enjoying swimming pool. However some buildings are set on fire, and there is looting going on in Bamako.
AMENDED: Accoriding to the BBC correspondent in Bamako the mutiny is led by Colonel Malick Diaw deputy head of the Kati camp, and General Sadio Camara.

EU extends G5 training in Mali

The Council extended the mandate of the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) for two years, until 18 May 2020. The Council also amended the mandate of the mission to include in its objectives the provision of advice and training support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, as part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to support the G5 Sahel process.

The Council also agreed to allocate a significantly increased budget of € 59.7 million to the mission for the period from 19 May 2018 to 18 May 2020, compared to € 33.4 for the current two-year period.

This decision means that the efforts carried out over recent months to regionalise the work of both civilian and military CSDP missions (EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger) in the Sahel will become more operational. The aim is to support regional security cooperation, as set out in the Council conclusions on Mali and the Sahel of 19 June 2017.

EUTM Mali assists in the reconstruction of effective and accountable Malian armed forces capable of ensuring the long-term security of Mali and, under civilian authority, restoring the country’s territorial integrity. To this effect, EUTM Mali delivers training to units of the Malian armed forces and aids the development of an autonomous training capability. The mission also provides advice to the Malian authorities on reforming the army.

The headquarters of the mission are located in Bamako, Mali. The commander of the mission is Brigadier General Enrique Millán Martinez, a Spanish national who took up his duties on 31 January 2018.

The mission is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to security and development in the Sahel. There are two other CSDP missions in the region: EUCAP Sahel Mali, which supports the Malian state’s efforts to ensure constitutional and democratic order, implement the conditions for lasting peace and maintain its authority throughout the entire territory; and EUCAP Sahel Niger, which supports the fight against organised crime and terrorism in Niger.

EU expert team in Mopti and Segou

The Council has adopted a decision authorising a stabilisation action in the central regions of Mali, in the Mopti and Segou governorates. In response to the invitation from the Malian authorities, the European Union will deploy a team of experts to support Malian national plans and policies, in order to counter the growing insecurity and to re-establish and expand the civilian administration in these regions. The action’s primary objective is to help consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality by strengthening general governance in this region for the benefit of the local communities.

The EU stabilisation team will be responsible for advising the Malian authorities in Mopti and Segou on governance-related issues, and supporting the planning and implementation by the Malian authorities of activities aimed at reinstating the civilian administration and basic services in the region. The team will be able also to support anenhanced dialogue between the Malian authorities and the local communities.

The stabilisation team will consist of 10 people and will have a budget of €3.25 million for an initial operating phase of one year. It will be based within the EU Delegation in Mali and will operate in Bamako, Mopti and Segou. This action will complement those of the EU Delegation in Mali and the CSDP missions deployed there (EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali), and is part of the EU’s integrated approach in Mali. The stabilisation team will also work in close cooperation with other international actors in the region, particularly the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

 

This stabilisation action is decided by the Council on the basis of Article 28 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that ‘where the international situation requires operational action by the Union, the Council shall adopt the necessary decisions. They shall lay down their objectives, scope, the means to be made available to the Union, if necessary their duration, and the conditions for their implementation.’ This is the first time that a Council decision has been decided in that context. The decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure.

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