Mali military junta backs 18-month transition government

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The head of Mali’s military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, vowed to establish an 18-month transition government Saturday, at the close of talks on returning the country to civilian rule following last month’s coup.

An expert group appointed by the junta adopted a charter for an 18-month transition government, the president of which would either be a military officer or a civilian.

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“We make a commitment before you to spare no effort in the implementation of all these resolutions in the exclusive interest of the Malian people,” Goita said.

Last Monday, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS issued a new appeal for Mali to make a “swift” transition to civilian rule following a military coup on August 18.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States slapped sanctions on Mali after the putsch, including closing borders and a ban on trade and financial flows, and has called for elections within 12 months.

Mali has long been plagued by instability, a simmering extremist revolt, ethnic violence and endemic corruption, with widespread unrest building until a clique of rebel soldiers detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last month.

Within hours of taking control, the military junta pledged to enact a political transition and stage elections within a “reasonable time.”

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