Mali: Mutineers want ECOWAS to lift sanctions, says Jonathan

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has briefed President Muhammed Buhari on the situation in Mali, how they try to speed up dialogue with the military coup leaders, who are seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections, while also demanding ECOWAS to lift sanctions on the country.

This briefing was made when President Muhammad Buhari received him and other ECOWAS Special Envoy to the West African country in the State House, Abuja on Wednesday ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS heads of state and leaders, scheduled for Friday.

According to the Envoy, “The military coup call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People. We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him”.

Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position. “They want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country, but we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS heads of state.”

President Buhari said the priority in Republic of Mali now should be securing the country, which is largely occupied by terrorists. “About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests.”

He added that the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday, hoping that an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties would be arrived at.

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