West Africa: Mali's Opposition Once More Rejects ECOWAS Crisis Resolution Plan

ECOWAS Head of Staes in Mali (file photo).

Mali's opposition has rejected a plan put forward by West Africa's regional body Ecowas to resolve an ongoing political crisis. They insist that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resign, despite the threat of sanctions.

Less than a day after leaders of West African regional bloc Ecowas submitted a new plan to resolve Mali's protracted political crisis, the opposition has once again flatly rejected it.

The opposition, a coalition group called M5-RFP, whose figurehead is Saudi-trained Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko, insists that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita step down as part of the solution.

Neighbouring countries are concerned that the political instability in Mali, marked by numerous protests will derail the fight against Islamist extremists in the region.

President @MBuhari currently participating in a virtual meeting of the Extraordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. The recent political crisis in the Republic of Mali tops the agenda. pic.twitter.com/H1GJPQbUCw - Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) July 27, 2020

The Ecowas leaders met in an extraordinary video summit on 27 July and asked an internal commission "to consider sanctions against all those who act contrary to the normalisation process of the crisis".

They do not agree with the opposition, and stand by Mali's embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, maintaining that Mali's democratic constitution must be respected.

The United Nations Security Council on Monday urged the various parties in Mali to follow the regional bloc's recommendations.

The Ecowas four-point plan called for the resignation of 31 members of parliament, including the speaker of the National Assembly - whose disputed election triggered the crisis. This involves fresh elections for the 31 parliamentary seats.

The bloc called for the re-modelling of the constitutional court. It proposed that a unity government be "established rapidly" and urged the opposition to join it.

Hours after the summit, President Keita responded with a cabinet reshuffle, naming six ministers to core positions, including Tiebile Drame as foreign minister and General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele as defence minister.

They are tasked with negotiating with the opposition to form the government of national unity.

But the M5-RFP opposition coalition refuses to join Keita in a shared government.

"The M5-RFP states with regret that the conclusions of the Heads of State Summit do not take into account the depth and gravity of the socio-political crisis that has Mali's future hanging in the balance," it said in a statement.

It added that it will restart the protests on 3 August if their demands are not met.

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