The West African bloc fears that the latest coup could jeopardize Mali’s transition to democracy and exacerbate regional insecurity.
Colonel Assimi Goita, Mali’s coup leader and newly appointed interim president, has been summoned to an emergency meeting of West African leaders in Ghana.
At Sunday’s special summit, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be ready to discuss how to deal with Mali’s second coup in nine months.
Goita left Bamako for Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Saturday after receiving a letter from ECOWAS requesting “consultations”, according to the AFP news agency.
The Mali president’s office, in a statement on Facebook, said Goita would participate in the extraordinary summit “alongside his counterparts” and would also hold bilateral talks with regional leaders.
Press release regarding the visit of the President of the Transition, Colonel @GoitaAssimi in Accra, where he will participate alongside his counterparts in the subregion at the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the situation in Mali scheduled for this Sunday 👇https://t.co/uy0c9EA3sd pic.twitter.com/dtGFgH9v9y
– Presidency Mali (@PresidenceMali) May 29, 2021
The summit will begin on Sunday at 14:00 (14:00 GMT).
ECOWAS, which acted as mediator last August when Goita and others overthrew the democratically elected president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, has warned that it may re-impose sanctions after the colonel’s last takeover.
The bloc fears that taking control could exacerbate instability in northern and central Mali and undermine a regional struggle against al-Qaeda-linked armed groups and ISIL (ISIS).
ECOWAS, the United States and France have warned of new sanctions.
French President Emmanuel Macron, during a visit to Rwanda and South Africa, said on Saturday that he told West African leaders they could not support a country “where there is no longer any democratic legitimacy or transition”.
The turmoil in Mali began last week when Goita ordered the arrest of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane following a dispute over a cabinet reshuffle that left out two military personnel.
Goita was vice president at the time.
Ndaw and Ouane resigned Wednesday while in custody and were later released.
At the time, the constitutional court, in violation of a joint statement issued after talks following last August’s coup, appointed Goita as Mali’s new transitional president. The statement, received between ECOWAS and Mali’s civilian and military leaders, said the transition’s vice president “can in no way replace the president.”
With the military in its previous engagement with civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other promises, including holding elections in early 2020.
The military said this week that it would continue to abide by that schedule, but added that it could be subject to change.