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ECOWAS Condemns Coup In Mali   
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ECOWAS Heads of State have condemned the military coup in Mali and demanded a return to a democratic order at an extraordinary session held on Tuesday in Abidjan, La Cote d’Ivoire.

Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Ghana's Foreign Minister, who briefed journalists after President John Evans Atta Mills and his delegation returned to Accra from Abidjan, said the meeting condemned the coup in “strong and unequivocal terms and demanded a return to democracy in Mali”.

He said the meeting made some important decisions regarding the crisis in that country.

The extraordinary session appointed President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso to mediate with the critical players on the ground to facilitate a restoration of democracy.

The meeting also decided that a high powered delegation of six heads of state made up of Presidents Yayi Boni of Benin, Alassane Outtara of Cote d’Ivoire, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Blaise Compaore, visits Mali immediately to engage with the military junta.

The leaders would demand guarantee for the safety of all political prisoners, including President Amadou Toumani Toure, whose whereabouts are currently unknown as well as detained ministers.

They would also ask for immediate ceasefire by the Tuareg rebels and the holding of elections in the country within a reasonable time.

Alhaji Mumuni said the visit by the delegation would be preceded by a visit of Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS to Mali to engage with the military junta and demand a roll-back of the unconstitutional activities of the military junta.

He said the meeting also decided that in the event that the junta failed to accede to demands to restore democratic dispensation, some targeted sanctions would be taken against them including the possibility of deployment of the ECOWAS stand-by force to ensure compliance with the demands.

Alhaji Mumuni stated however that aside from the visits by the Chiefs of Defence Staff and the six-member delegation expected to be in Mali from March 28 -March 30, no time-lines had been given for the implementation of the other decisions of the community.

He said that the meeting congratulated the Senegalese people and the president elect, Macky Sall, as well as President Abdoulaye Wade for the honour done the sub-region by conducting themselves in a democratic manner.
Source: GNA

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