Mali junta to hold transition talks this weekend

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Mali’s junta, which seized power in a coup last month, will hold transition talks with political parties and civil society groups this weekend, an official said Tuesday.

 

The August 18 putsch has prompted Mali’s neighbours along with ally and former colonial ruler France to call for a swift transfer of power, amid worries over instability in a country struggling with an Islamist insurgency, ethnic violence and economic malaise.

The military rulers have this time invited to the talks the June 5 Movement, which spearheaded a protest movement that led to the toppling of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The movement was not invited for transition talks last Saturday when the junta called off discussions at the last minute.

The June 5 group has demanded that the military rulers give it a role in the transition to civilian rule which the military has promised, without setting a timetable.

Mali’s influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, a key player in the mass opposition protests that led to Keita’s ouster, said the junta did not have “carte blanche”.

“We will not give a blank cheque to anyone to run this country, that’s over,” he said.

“We led the fight,” he said. “People have died and the soldiers who have completed (this fight) must keep their word.”

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