News / Africa

Mali Military Government Agrees to Extend Civilian Presidency

Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore (L) is congratulated by coup leader Amadou Sanogo after being sworn in at a ceremony in Bamako, Mali, April 12, 2012. Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore (L) is congratulated by coup leader Amadou Sanogo after being sworn in at a ceremony in Bamako, Mali, April 12, 2012.
x
Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore (L) is congratulated by coup leader Amadou Sanogo after being sworn in at a ceremony in Bamako, Mali, April 12, 2012.
Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore (L) is congratulated by coup leader Amadou Sanogo after being sworn in at a ceremony in Bamako, Mali, April 12, 2012.
Anne Look
BAMAKO - Mali appears to have averted a political impasse on Sunday when the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, released a statement confirming the signing of an accord with coup leaders, who agreed to the extension of the interim civilian president's mandate until elections can be held. 

The soldiers who toppled Mali's elected leader on March 22 have agreed that interim president Diouncounda Traore will remain in place to lead the transition to civilian rule and organize elections.

The announcement appears to end weeks of wrangling between coup leaders and mediators from the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, which has pushed hard for a return to civilian government.

ECOWAS chief negotiator, Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole, told reporters that the military government agreed to provisions set out by ECOWAS for the transition.  He says mediators will remain in Bamako as long as it takes to work out the details to ensure that the country's institutions are stabilized and that all measures are adopted, so the transition can proceed smoothly.

No timetable was given for the transition.  But ECOWAS has said previously that the interim government will remain in place for one year to organize elections.
 
As head of the National Assembly, Diouncounda Traore assumed the post of interim president April 12, after the military government signed its first accord with ECOWAS.  His initial 40-day mandate, as prescribed by the Constitution, was set to expire on Tuesday.

Government leader Captain Amadou Sanogo had proposed that Mali hold a national convention to select a new leader for the transition - a plan some criticized as an effort to keep the military in power.  ECOWAS responded by threatening to reimpose sanctions on government leaders, if they tried to block a return to civilian rule.

Sanogo did not speak during the ECOWAS announcement, but he later addressed the nation on state television.

Sanogo said an agreement has been reached in principle. He said there several accompanying measures to put in place and that the military government will remain in Bamako the time it takes to ensure that the institutions of the state are stabilized.

Asked whether he had a message for the country, Captain Sanogo said the military staged the coup d'état in the interest of the country and that they will continue to work for the preservation of Mali's territorial integrity.

The country is cut in two with the north in the hands of rebels and Islamist militants.  In the chaos following the coup in late March, armed groups in the north quickly pushed south.  Soldiers angry over the government's response to insecurity in the north overthrew the government in Bamako.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad declared the territory an independent state on April 5, while the Islamist group Ansar Dine rejected independence and instead began imposing its version of Sharia in northern towns.

ECOWAS officials say the crisis threatens the stability of the entire region.  It says it is preparing 3,000 soldiers for deployment to Mali, if requested by the transitional government.  But analysts say their mission would more likely focus on safeguarding the return to civilian rule in the capital.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid