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West African bloc says it regrets Mali’s 24-month transition decision

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Financial Group of West African States (ECOWAS) flag is pictured throughout a unprecedented summit of ECOWAS to listen to reviews from latest missions to Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea following navy coups in these international locations, in Accra, Ghana March 25, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

BAMAKO, June 7 (Reuters) – The West African regional bloc ECOWAS mentioned on Tuesday that it regretted a choice by Mali’s interim authorities to increase the transition again to civilian rule by 24 months whereas negotiations between the 2 sides had been ongoing.

Mali’s ruling junta, which first got here to energy in an August 2020 coup, issued a decree on Monday fixing the 24-month timetable, to be counted from March 2022. Learn full story

The 15-member Financial Group of West African States has been pushing for a shorter extension of at most 16 months. ECOWAS imposed stiff sanctions in January after the junta mentioned it could not organise democratic elections the next month as initially deliberate.

Learn extra: Mali junta adopts 24-month transition to democratic rule from March

“ECOWAS regrets that whereas negotiations are nonetheless ongoing to achieve a consensus, the Malian Authorities took this resolution on the transition,” the bloc mentioned in a press release.

It mentioned an ECOWAS negotiator would proceed to have interaction Malian authorities to achieve a “mutually agreed timeline”.

Heads of state from ECOWAS member international locations met over the weekend in Ghana, the place they agreed to not raise sanctions towards Mali except the junta proposed a shorter transition. They’re anticipated to carry one other summit earlier than July 3.

(Reporting by Fadimata Kontao; Writing by Aaron Ross; Modifying by Richard Pullin)

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