UN Security Council holds emergency meeting on Mali’s ‘coup’ as pressure on the military builds

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on Mali behind closed doors on Wednesday, as West African mediators will meet with the country’s detained president and prime minister, sources say, as diplomatic pressure on the leaders of the coup in Mali mounts.

The UN Security Council session on Mali was requested by France, Niger, Tunisia, Kenya and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, days after Malian strongman Colonel Assimi Goita announced that he had deposed the country’s interim president and prime minister because they had not consulted him on the appointment of a new government.

The move sparked widespread international condemnation and the threat of sanctions, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announcing that Paris had requested the special meeting of the UN Security Council following the “coup”.

There was no indication as to the likelihood that a joint statement would be adopted at this emergency meeting.

France in the strongest terms condemns the coup that took place in #Mali. The civil character and timing of the transition must be respected.

France and African members of the UN Security Council have requested a Security Council meeting tomorrow afternoon. https://t.co/8tjE8fifL7

– Nicolas de Rivière (@NDeRiviere) May 25, 2021

Monday’s arrest of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, charged with directing the return to civilian government following a coup d’état last August, also brought in the West African Regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in an attempt to defuse. Mali’s latest crisis.

An ECOWAS mediation team arrived in the Malian capital, Bamako, on Tuesday and has now received a “green light” from strongman Goita to meet with Ndaw and Ouane, a source close to the talks, told AFP.

“We are here to help our Malian brothers find a solution to the crisis, but it is clear that ECOWAS could quickly declare sanctions at a future summit,” said a member of the delegation led by the former Nigerian. president Goodluck Jonathan, to AFP.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has deployed more than 5,000 troops in Mali’s fight against jihadism in the Sahel, has condemned the arrest of Ndaw and Ouane as a “coup within an unacceptable coup”.

“We are ready to take targeted sanctions in the coming hours” against those responsible, he said after a summit of the European Union.

On Monday, the UN, African Union, ECOWAS, EU and US issued a rare joint statement attacking the detention and demanding the couple’s release.

That demand was repeated by Great Britain and Germany on Tuesday.

A senior Malian military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Ndaw and Ouane had been taken to the Kati military camp near Bamako and “are in order”.

They spent the night in good conditions. The president has seen his doctor, ”the source said.

A member of Goita’s team said that during talks with the ECOWAS mediators, they had “explained their reasons” for pushing the two men out, urging elections to continue next year.

They said more talks would be held with the ECOWAS delegation.

Realignment creates backlash from the army

Young military officers deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August after weeks of protests over alleged government corruption and his handling of the jihadist insurgency.

ECOWAS, a regional bloc of 15 countries, threatened sanctions, prompting the junta to hand over power to a transitional government that promised to reform the constitution.

Ndaw and Ouane headed that interim government with the stated goal of restoring full civilian government within 18 months.

But recently there have been signs of public discontent, with the M5 movement demanding a “more legitimate” body from the opposition.

On May 14, the government said it would appoint a new “broad” cabinet.

Designed to respond to growing criticism, the reshuffle allowed the military to retain the strategic portfolios it controlled during the previous administration.

But two other coup leaders – ex-defense secretary Sadio Camara and ex-security secretary Colonel Modibo Kone – were replaced, prompting the officers to detain the president and prime minister.

‘Intention to sabotage transition’

Goita, who holds the rank of vice president in the transitional government, accused Ndaw and Ouane of not consulting him about the reshuffle.

“This kind of move is testament to the clear desire of the transition president and prime minister to try to violate the transition charter,” he said, describing this as a “demonstrable intention to sabotage the transition.”

The Transitional Charter, a document largely drafted by the colonels, lays down the principles that support Mali’s return to civilian government.

“The planned elections will take place in 2022,” added Goita.

But many have questioned whether the military-dominated government had the will – or the ability – to implement reforms in the short term.

“What we are experiencing today is the logical result of the shortcomings at the start of the transition,” said sociologist Brema Ely Dicko when the junta sidelined civil society in forming the new government.

On the streets of Bamako, life seemed to go on Tuesday, despite the expulsion of Ndaw and Ouane, and many people interviewed by AFP said they had resigned themselves to the events.

Tahirou Bah, a civil society activist, fell “putschist colonels … (who) fight to the death for power” at a time when “80 percent of our country is under the control of terrorists, drug traffickers and bandits of every kind. kind. . ”

But, he said, many people just focused on everyday life: “For many Malians, this is survival.”

( Jowhar with AFP)

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