Another extraordinary summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government holds on Friday to discuss the situation in the Republic of Mali. The meeting is coming as the ECOWAS Special Envoy and former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan returned from the landlock country.
Jonathan was in the Presidential Villa Abuja to brief President Buhari on the outcome of the negotiations with the new military junta. Buhari who will make a statement at the ECOWAS summit outlining the position of Nigeria appears now to be more keen on the security situation in Mali that is largely overrun by terrorists than the restoration of constitutional authority with the ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita not interested in returning to power.
Below is the statement from the Presidency on the briefing President Buhari and other West African leaders received after the latest mission of the ECOWAS Special Envoy:
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES UPDATES ON MALI SITUATION FROM SPECIAL ENVOY, GOODLUCK JONATHAN
President Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday at State House, Abuja, that the priority in Republic of Mali now should be securing the country, which is largely occupied by terrorists.
The President spoke as he received briefings from ECOWAS Special Envoy to the West African country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting came ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS heads of state and leaders, scheduled for Friday.
President Buhari stressed: “About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests.”
He said the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday, hoping that an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties would be arrived at.
Dr Jonathan brought the President up to speed on dialogue with the military coup leaders, who are seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections.
“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People. We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him,’’ the Special Envoy said.
“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months. The Interim Government would then organize elections to restore full constitutional order.”
Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position.
He added that the military leaders want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country, “but we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS heads of state.”
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
August 26, 2020
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