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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid