ECOWAS asks Mali junta to reinstate Keita government

By Bola Olajuwon, Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja and Ibrahim Adam
Leaders of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have demanded the reinstatement of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as Mali’s president.
Keita was forced to resign in the early hours of Wednesday by soldiers who toppled his government on Tuesday.
The ECOWAS leaders made the demand after an emergency summit called to review the situation in Mali. They also announced plans to visit Bamako, the Malian capital, amid growing concerns about regional stability.
Other resolutions taken at the extra-ordinary session are:

Firmness on the restoration of constitutional order;
Release of those arrested;
Stoppage of economic relations with Mali, with exceptions granted to staple foods, fuel and medication, for the sake of the people.

The leaders also called for continued engagement with all parties to the crisis. They mandated former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Special Envoy on the crisis, and ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, to convey the decisions of the West African leaders to the parties.

The 15-nation bloc convened the virtual Extra-ordinary Session on the socio-political situation in Mali after it suspended it, shut off borders and halted financial flows in response to the overthrow of Keita.
President Muhmmadu Buhari advocated stiffer sanctions on the military regime to force a speedy return to democratic rule.

The President lamented that the situation in Mali is a setback for regional diplomacy, which, according to
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