Mali to continue talks for junta to transition to civilian rule

Mali’s military-led national consultation period, which was launched to negotiate the country’s transition to civilian rule, is set to end

Mali Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Mali’s military-led national consultation period, which was launched to negotiate the country’s transition to civilian rule, is set to end today following three days of talks with parties and civil society groups.

The putschists, who overthrew the government in mid-August, will have to coordinate their vision with the June 5 Movement (M5), which played a pivotal role in the protests against former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as well as former rebel groups. The main absentee from the talks is the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), an important political actor in the peace process.

The junta is facing pressure both locally and internationally. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed an embargo on trade and financial flows with Mali following the coup, and the removal of these sanctions is conditional on the military’s designation of a civilian president and prime minister by the looming September 15 deadline. However, the military has thus far vowed to cede control only after a transition period, the duration of which remains undetermined.

In the short-term, Mali’s future looks bleak. The weakness of Mali’s interim government may enable jihadist groups to grasp further power in the country’s north, perpetuating the severe violent insurgency problem that was itself a major cause of the recent wave of protests that rocked the country.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.