West Africa: Discussions On New Govt Intensify

Moctar Ouane, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali, addresses the general debate of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly on September 28, 2010.

An ECOWAS delegation led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Bamako yesterday to evaluate the situation on the ground.

A few days after the appointment of the former defense Minister, Ban Ndaw as head of Mali's transitional government and Assimi Goita as his deputy, discussions have intensified with regards to the distribution of other portfolios. While the post of Prime Minister is practical said to go to a civilian as stated by the charter and demanded by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the other ministerial positions are being tussled for by the different stakeholders.

With signs of ECOWAS sanctions already visible in some sectors of the economy, both the junta, M5 members and civil society know the stakes ahead of the arrival yesterday of the ECOWAS mediation team headed by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. According to a diplomatic source in Bamako, the visit of Mr Goodluckm which ends today is to examine the extent to which the roadmap assigned to the military Junta has been covered and whether it is enough to suspend the prevailing sanctions against the country. If satisfied the source added, the ECOWAS mediation head and his delegation will first assist in the swearing-in of the new head of government before leaving on Friday for Lagos where they are expected to brief via video conference head of member countries.

According to RFI, the military junta which has been at the centre of every negotiations intends to keep five vital positions; defense, security, equipment, mines and territorial administration, while the M5 that spear headed the anti-Ibrahim Boubacar protests wants the prime minster to emerge from their ranks and other strategic positions handled by members of the movement and the dissolution of the national Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).

Meanwhile, European chancelleries have also conveyed the message to the junta. "We want a real civilian this time", slips a diplomatic source, in reference to the double "civil-military" hat of President Bah Ndaw. While the French President during a press briefing in Paris Tuesday said, "All eyes are on the Mali military Junta. Because democracy and the fight against terrorism go hand-in-glove. Decisions taken by the military junta will determine the stay of French troops in the country".

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