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Jonathan Reveals Why Mali Junta Has Refused To Release Ousted President

JUST IN: Buhari, Jonathan In Closed-door Meeting

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has yesterday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari about the peace mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Mali.

Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, made it known in a statement that the meeting held ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS heads of state and leaders, was scheduled for Friday.

Last Saturday, Jonathan had led an ECOWAS delegation to Mali in order to negotiate the release of President Ibrahim Keita.

They also went in a bid to restore the constitutional government.

The delegation met with the military junta that deposed Keita.

Junta who had asked to stay in power for three years was told that ECOWAS would only allow an interim government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six months or a maximum of a year.

He also said the military leaders want ECOWAS to lift the sanctions placed on Mali “as it was already affecting the country”.

We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him,” Jonathan was quoted to have said.

We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months and a maximum of 12 calendar months.

He said the Interim Government would then organise elections to restore full constitutional order.

Further, Jonathan said his team were allowed to meet and speak with the ousted president, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily.

He added that he was no longer interested in his former position.

On his part, Buhari advised that Mali’s security should be prioritised rather than pursuing individual interests.

About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests,” Buhari said.

 

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