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Ecowas hopes for civilian-led transition govt in Mali 'in days'

President Nana Akufo-Addo, who currently chairs Ecowas, said that a mediator would travel to Bamako in a week and the 15-nation bloc wanted the process finished.

From (L-R): Presidents of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara, ECOWAS Commissioner Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, and President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria pose for a group photo during an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders summit in Niamey on 7 September 2020. Picture: AFP

PEDUASE - West African leaders hope to see a civilian-led transition government installed in Mali "in days" after talks with the military junta that seized power last month, Ghana's president said Tuesday.

"We need a civilian leadership of the transition," President Nana Akufo-Addo, who currently chairs the regional Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), told journalists after the meeting in Ghana.

"The minute that leadership is put in place through the processes they themselves have agreed upon in Mali, the sanctions that have been placed against Mali will be lifted by Ecowas."

Akufo-Addo said that an Ecowas mediator would travel to Bamako in a week and the 15-nation bloc wanted the process finished.

"I'm hoping that by the time he gets there these things would have been completed," the Ghanaian leader said.

"We're talking hopefully in days not in weeks."

Ecowas slapped sanctions on Mali after the 18 August coup, closing borders and banning trade and financial flows, and called for elections.

The bloc had given the new military rulers until Tuesday to name a civilian president and prime minister to head a transitional government.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who was appointed interim head of state, attended the talks in Ghana on his first trip abroad since his seizure of power.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara insisted the meeting had made progress by "confirming that the president and the prime minister must be civilians".

"As soon as they are designated, we will lift the sanctions," he told journalists.

Mali's neighbours are anxious to avoid the fragile Sahel state spiralling into chaos.

Last month's coup - Mali's fourth since gaining independence from France in 1960 - came after months of protests stoked in part by Keita's failure to quell a jihadist insurgency that has plagued the country since 2012.

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