West African leaders signal they oppose Mali junta extension

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West African leaders are indicating they will not support a move by Mali’s military rulers to extend their time in power by four years

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It was not immediately known whether West African leaders gathering in Ghana’s capital would further tighten existing sanctions against Mali’s coup leadership. The block has already imposed travel restrictions and frozen the financial assets of all members of the transitional authority and their families.

In his remarks on Sunday, Burkina Faso’s president said the proposed extension of his time in power “is a matter of concern for the entire West African region.”

Burkinabe President Roch Mark said, “As much as we are aware of the complexity of the situation in this country, we also believe that all political, economic and social reforms aimed at rebuilding Mali can only be carried out by democratically elected officials.” can.” Christian Kabore, who is also the current President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

After the overthrow of Mali’s democratically elected president, coup leader Goita promised a speedy return to democratic rule in the country. Doubts about his intentions deepened, however, as he effectively launched a second coup nine months later, forcing elected transitional civilian leaders and becoming president himself.

Mali’s government says elections cannot be held because of deep insecurity across the country where Islamist extremists have been fighting the insurgency for a decade. They also say it is necessary to draft a new constitution and put it before voters in a referendum, a lengthy effort that will pave the way for new local and legislative elections before any presidential vote.

He initially proposed a five-year extension, but West African leaders said a new document sent on Friday revised the total to four years.

The French military, which helped topple militants in northern Mali in 2013, is now in the process of reducing its military presence in Mali. Many fear his departure will deepen the crisis despite the presence of UN peacekeepers and regional forces who are fueling the efforts of Mali troops.

Critics of the junta fear that the political turmoil will further undermine the Malian military’s response to Islamic extremist attacks, when they are taking responsibility for fighting the militants.

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Krista Larsson reported from Dakar, Senegal.

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