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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid