Mali begins national talks ahead of transition deadline

Bamako – A three-day national consultation on the make-up of Mali’s transitional government begins on Thursday in the capital, Bamako.

The talks come ahead of a deadline given by West African leaders for the appointment of civilians leaders by 15 September, following consultative meetings held last weekend to agree on the “terms of reference” for Thursday’s talks.

Pressure is mounting on the military rulers, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), to set up a civilian-led government after Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s ouster on 18 August.

Senior leader of the junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita have been reaching out to various key personalities in an effort to boost their credibility, support their base and improve their public image.

Col Goita met with two former Presidents, Dioncounda Traore and Amadou Toumani Toure, who have a history of leading transitions, and the influential High Islamic Council of Mali.

The 5 June Movement, which galvanised the nation into putting pressure on Keita to leave, has reiterated its calls for “a civilian political transition led by a civilian!”.

Meanwhile, a team of experts on Wednesday submitted its work, a roadmap and a charter, to the junta. The two documents will be the basis for this week’s consultations.

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