After being elected Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nana Akufo-Addo, has served notice to convene a consultative meeting on the current political instability in Mali.
This was revealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in Accra at the Information Ministry on Sunday.
According to her, the meeting is scheduled for September 15, 2020 at the Presidential Lodge, Peduase.
It is to kick off at about 10:00am.
It would be recalled that the 57th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Akufo-Addo was unanimously elected as Chair of ECOWAS Authority for a period of one year.
According to her, the security challenges in the region range from terrorism and violent extremism to insecurity at sea, political instability, election-related violence, drug and human trafficking, epidemics and pandemics which tend to cause instability in the region.
Dealing with threats to human lives and property, democratic governance and increasing insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and Lake Chad Basin- Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and the northern parts of Nigeria, are very crucial, she said.
” There is no gainsaying that trade and economic development cannot thrive in an environment of insecurity, hence the need for the sustenance of regional peace and security, democracy and good governance, and the strengthening of co-operation among Member States.”
She noted that the political crisis in Mali poses a major threat to the region if not dealt with appropriately.
“With a vast territory without effective governance and the operations of several splinter terrorist groups operating in the country, a deterioration of the Malian socio-political crisis poses a serious security threat to the region,” she said.
“The country has come under three severe attacks since the military coup on 18th August 2020 with far-reaching ramifications on Burkina Faso and Niger. Reports indicate that while a number of people have been killed by the Jihadists, more than seven hundred (700) jihadist activities have been neutralised since the onset of the coup in mid-August. Such events should be considered a worrying sign for security and stability in the country and the region.”
” The current situation in Mali may embolden the jihadists to undertake more attacks that will further cripple the country and destablise the region,” she said.
“This is the reason why ECOWAS has deployed efforts to address the situation since it began in June 2020 and following the coup d' etat that toppled the government of President Keita on 18th August, 2020 and his subsequent resignation and the dissolution of the National Assembly on 19th August 2020,” according to her.
Since the onset of demonstrations in Mali, ECOWAS has carried out a number of mediation activities, she explained.
At the 57th Ordinary Summit of the E COWAS Authority held on 7th September, 2020 in Niamey, Niger, the Heads of State reaffirmed their determination to ensure that constitutional order is quickly restored in the country, with a political transition led by a civilian President and Prime Minister for twelve months, the Foreign Minister said.
” The Authority maintained all the decisions taken at its Extraordinary Summit of 28 August, 2020 and noted the ongoing consultations between the Malian stakeholders initiated by the National Council for the People's Salvation (CNSP). The Authority also directed that the Head of Transitional Government and Prime Minister, both civilians, be appointed no later than 15 September, 2020,” she said.
“The Consultative Meeting being convened by the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the Political Situation in Mali on 15th September, 2020 at Peduase is part of the mediation efforts of ECOWAS to return Mali to constitutional rule and to prevent the political situation from deteriorating further,” she said.
Opposition rejects transition deal
The meeting is coming off at a time when the opposition coalition which led mass protests in Mali ahead of last month’s coup has rejected a transition charter.
On Saturday, September 12, 2020, Mali’s military leadership agreed to establish a18-month interim government until an election could take place.
The agreement followed three days of talks with the opposition and civil society groups.
However, the M5-RFP group, which took part in the negotiations, observed that the resulting document was an attempt by military leaders to “grab and confiscate power”.
The group also stated that the document did not take into account what it said was a majority vote for a civilian interim leader, and “did not reflect the views and decisions of the Malian people”.
This is despite the fact the interim charter announced by the military leaders stating that an interim legislative body is to be established comprising M5-RFP members.
The ousted 75-year-old former president, it would be recalled, departed Mali last week for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 5 September for medical treatment.
That was after he suffered a minor stroke, according to military officials.