Mali leader to remain in office New

By IndepthAfrica
In Mali
May 21st, 2012

Two West African envoys quit Mali after failing to reach agreement with coup leaders (AFP/File, Ahmed Ouoba)

West Africa’s regional bloc Ecowas has agreed a deal with Mali’s junta for Djouncounda Traore to remain as president beyond Monday’s deadline.

As part of the deal, coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo will get all the benefits of a former head of state.

Mr Traore was initially sworn in for 40 days in April, replacing Capt Sanogo who seized power the previous month.

The coup, and ensuing rebel seizure of northern Mali, has led many thousands of people to flee their homes.

Aid agencies say they are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Mali, which is also suffering from the regional drought.

Further details of the deal have not been revealed, such as how long Mr Traore will remain in office – Ecowas had said he should stay for a year.

Despite officially handing power to Mr Traore, the speaker of parliament, the coup leaders continued to play an active political role, leading Ecowas to threaten to reimpose sanctions against them.

After meeting Capt Sanogo in the Malian capital Bamako, the Ecowas mediator, Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, said a deal had been done.

But he did not specify the roles of the president, the prime minister or the junta, or the length of the transition.

He did say, however, that Capt Sanogo would be given a salary and state protection as a former head of state.

The coup leader told state television that a deal had been reached “in principle”.

“Of course we have a certain number of accompanying measures to put in place and we will remain in Bamako the time it takes to ensure that, after these discussions, the institutions of state are stabilised,” he added.

Bamako-based journalist Martin Vogl says Ecowas is no longer saying that the junta has to go completely.

Ecowas lifted sanctions against the coup leaders after they handed power to Mr Traore, 70.

But Capt Sanogo and his allies wanted Mr Traore to stand down after the 40 days were over, while Ecowas said he should be given a year to organise fresh elections and deal with the rebellion in the north.

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