The extraordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of the Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) ended in Bamako last night with a resolution to present conclusions reached to the meeting of Heads of State and Government holding in Abuja later this week.
The meeting was attended by Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, the Gambia, Liberia, Togo, Bukina Faso, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea and Benin Republic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of the UN, EU, AU, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and other stakeholders also attended the meeting.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Salamatu Husseni-Suleman, said the agreement reached at the meeting would be forwarded to the Heads of State and Government.
Husseni-Suleman said ECOWAS, AU and all stakeholders were required to meet and conclude the concept of operations for deployment of military forces to Mali to assist the country to regain its territorial integrity.
She said the resolution by the UN Security Council was that ECOWAS, AU, UN, EU and all other stakeholders were required to meet and conclude the concept of operations for deployment of military forces to Mali to assist the country regains its territorial integrity.
"It will also be presented to the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on Sunday and together with the AU and other critical partners, they will fine-tune other arrangements and get back to the UN by Nov. 15," she said.
In ihis comments, the Chairman of the CCDS, Maj.-Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko, thanked the committee for the quality of work done during the meeting.
Bakayoko, who is the Chief of Defence Staff of Cote d'Ivoire, appreciated the efforts made by the CCDS to restore peace and security to Mali.
"I appeal to all and sundry to ensure that the decisions taken in this meeting are harmonised so that peace can return to Mali," he said.
NAN reports that Adm. Ola Ibrahim, the Chief of Defence Staff, was among those who attended the meeting.
The Malian crisis began on March 21 when mutinying soldiers, displeased with the management of the Tuareg rebellion in the north, attacked several locations in the capital Bamako, including the presidential palace, state television, and military barracks.
The soldiers, who said they had formed the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State, declared the following day that they had overthrown the government of Amadou Toumani Toure Amadou Toure, forcing him into hiding.
The coup was followed by the swift loss of northern Mali to Tuareg forces.
On April 6, the junta agreed with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) negotiators that they would step down from power in return for the end of sanctions, giving power to a transitional government led by the Speaker of parliament, Mr Dioncounda Traore.
In the following days, both Touré and coup leader Amadou Sanogo formally resigned. Touré was to leave office when his term expires after the presidential election in April.