ECOWAS puts pressure on Mali but coup leaders say a transitional president
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The military coup leaders in Mali are ignoring regional and international pressure about the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. However, they have declared that a transitional president will be chosen from inside the military or a civilian. After this, an election will be held at the earliest opportunity.
Regional nations are concerned about the ongoing struggle against Islamist insurgents in parts of the country. Similarly, France deems Mali to be of enormous importance in the struggle to contain various regional Islamist insurgencies. Therefore, the military coup leaders have promised to honor all agreements in the fight against Sunni Islamist forces.
ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) sought mediation between Keita and opposition forces before the military coup. Yet with events developing rapidly then ECOWAS is dismayed.
Voice of America reports, “Members of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, shut down all their land and air borders with Mali on Wednesday after its president announced his resignation following a military mutiny. ECOWAS said in a statement that it will also halt trade relations with Mali.”
Yet ECOWAS knows that Keita was extremely unpopular before he was ousted from power. Thus they can’t ignore the June 5 Movement and endless protests in recent months.
Similarly, ECOWAS knows that senior military personnel in Mali are disillusioned by growing instability throughout the country. This notably relates to Islamist insurgents and ethnic bloodshed. Therefore, the central power of the nation-state under Keita was fraying.
ECOWAS said, “Mali is in a critical situation, with serious risks that a collapse of the state and institutions leads to reversals in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, with every consequence for all our community.”
However, the military personnel behind the coup and opposition forces believe Keita was leading the nation to what ECOWAS declares above. Therefore, a compromise is needed between internal forces and ECOWAS to solve a very delicate situation.
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