Reinstating deposed Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is out of question, a diplomat privy to ongoing discussion has said.
While the delegation arrived in Bamako on Saturday with the aim of reversing the coup, a diplomat told Reuters that reinstating Keita – who is being held by the junta – is currently not and option and that the only thing it could achieve was a transition.
Mediators from West Africa’s 15-member Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) are in Mali to ensure the country returns to civilian rule.
Led by the African Union Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, African leaders last week called for the immediate release of President Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. The leaders spoke on Thursday evening during a virtual meeting of the AU Bureau convened to discuss the continental response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leaders of the military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita and the mediators led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, met behind closed doors all day on Sunday.
Ecowas has already suspended Mali from its decision-making institutions, shut borders and halted financial flows with the country.
“We have been able to agree on a number of points but not yet on all the discussions,” Jonathan told reporters on Sunday night after negotiations that lasted around nine hours.
A senior officer close to the junta told Reuters earlier that discussion during the morning session focused on the bloc’s sanctions on Mali following the military coup.
Other key issues would include the fate of President Keita, and details of Mali’s transition to civilian rule.
French Radio RFI reported late on Sunday that the National Committee for the Salvation of the People proposed a three-year transition led by a soldier and made up of mostly soldiers.
They are also said to be open to allowing Keita to return to his home or leave the country.