ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said Wednesday the 15-nation West African bloc was “reassured” that Mali’s leaders intend to restore civilian rule in the Sahel state.
Brou travelled to Mali as part of a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), sent after Colonel Assimi Goita deposed the country’s civilian leaders on May 24.
Goita — who had already led a coup last August — was sworn in as Mali’s transitional president on Tuesday.
As well as appointing a civilian prime minister, the colonel promised to stage elections in February next year.
May’s coup sparked diplomatic uproar, marking Mali’s second putsch in nine months.
Last August, Goita led young army officers in deposing elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of protests over perceived corruption and a bloody jihadist insurgency.
After ECOWAS levied sanctions, the military junta handed power to a civilian-led transitional government, which promised to restore civilian rule in February 2022.
But Goita deposed those leaders last month after the transitional prime minister conducted a sensitive government reshuffle.
In response to the second coup, both the African Union and ECOWAS suspended Mali and urged that the previously agreed timeline to restore civilian rule be respected.
France also suspended joint military operations with Malian forces, and stopped giving military advice.
The former colonial power has thousands of troops stationed in the semi-arid Sahel to help fight jihadist violence that erupted in Mali in 2012 and now threatens the region.