West African heads of state concluded an extraordinary summit on Mali on Monday, with a plan to move beyond the current political and security crisis discussed during a video conference with embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
The delegation from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, called for quick establishment of a government of national unity with participation of the M5-RFP opposition coalition led by Mahmoud Dicko.
They also called for the resignation of 31 MPs elected to parliament during bitterly disputed elections in March, a development that accelerated the existing frustration and unrest in Mali and led to massive protests to demand Keïta’s resignation. Mali’s legislature can continue on with 116 MPs until elections can be held, they added.
“We further decided to support all the proposals made by the ECOWAS mediation led by President Goodluck Jonathan,” said Issoufou in a statement, referring to the former Nigerian leader who led an ECOWAS delegation to Bamako on July 19.
The outcome of that visit included a proposed national unity government, following a dialogue that includes 50 percent members of the ruling party, 30 percent from the opposition and 20 percent drawn from civil society.
ECOWAS also called for a recomposition of Mali’s constitutional court, several conflict monitoring mechanisms, and a commission of inquiry to investigate violence, notably deaths of protesters linked to security forces during July protests.
ECOWAS remains in support of abducted opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé, whose disappearance has contributed to the instability in Mali. “We ask the Malian authorities to intensify their efforts already underway, with a view to his release,” the summit leaders said.
Image: Mali Presidency