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ECOWAS delegation meets Mali’s prime minister

Choguel Maiga, Mali's new prime minister   -  
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An ECOWAS delegation met on Wednesday with Mali's Prime Minister, in the second of a two-day visit by the members of the West African bloc to Bamako.

ECOWAS mediator, Goodluck Jonathan, Malian Prime Minister, Choguel Maiga, and the President of the ECOWAS commission, Jean-Claude Brou Kassi, were among those attending the meeting.

Kassi told journalists that Maiga had repeated the commitments made by the president of the transitional government, Colonel Assimi Goita, on Tuesday.

Maiga said that the new government would within six weeks present the actions to be taken, adding that Mali's partners "will hold our hand as they have always done when our country has gone through a 'storm'."

"In a few weeks we will come back to the Malians and then to the international community, to indicate the firm determination to go through with the transition, which should be a successful transition, after having resolved or addressed all the issues and difficulties that were at the root of the change that we have experienced," he said.

Colonel Goita, who first grabbed power in August 2020 by overthrowing Mali's democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, eventually agreed to a transitional government led by a civilian president and prime minister.

Two weeks ago, Goita ousted the civilian leaders after a cabinet reshuffle was announced that sidelined two junta supporters without consulting him.

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, has been supporting mediation talks in Mali.

The African Union (AU) have suspended the country's membership, while France has temporarily suspended its joint military operations with the Malian military, to exert pressure on Goita to step aside after he carried out his second coup d'etat in nine months.

Mali's constitutional court recently approved Goita as interim president and he was sworn as president of the transitional government on Monday.

Asked whether the ECOWAS will lift or keep the suspension of Mali from the group, Kassi said that the decision has to be taken by the heads of bloc's member states.

Kassi said that the group have insisted on the release of the now former president and prime minister who were detained by the military in May.

"We have insisted on allowing them (former president and prime minister) to be free again. I think we were given assurances and that has been done. They are now at home. And so, we think there is no problem at that level."

The bloc and the AU have made clear that the head of the transitional government, the vice president and the prime minister should not under any circumstances be candidates in the next presidential election expected to take place February next year.

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