Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may soon meet again to review the situation in Mali.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina shortly after a closed door meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan on the political situation in the West African nation on Monday.
The meeting with the President and Jonathan, who is the Economic Community of West African States’ special envoy to Mali, was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement titled “Mali: ECOWAS to deliberate again on grey areas as special envoy, Goodluck Jonathan briefs President Buhari” said a meeting of the ECOWAS leaders became necessary after the briefing by the former president.
“Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, at the behest of their Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, may confer again to discuss outstanding grey areas in the Mali political situation, President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated.
“The President spoke after receiving a briefing at State House, Abuja, Monday, from ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
“Mali has appointed a civilian as Interim President, who will stay in office for 18 months, and lead the country back to constitutional order, after the military had taken over power in the country. That was part of irreducible demands by West African leaders before sanctions imposed on the country could be lifted.
“However, according to the Special Envoy, the military leaders are yet to satisfy ECOWAS demand of a full civilian as Vice President, and what his roles would be in government. That position is currently being held by a serving military officer, who was also one of the leaders of the take-over.”
According to the statement, Buhari advised Jonathan to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, “who will then write us officially, and we then determine the next steps.”
The statement further quoted the President as saying that with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, “the priority of the military should be to secure their country,” rather than hold on to power.