West African leaders are to hold a virtual extraordinary summit on Monday on the current political crisis in Mali.
Five presidents from West African countries visited Mali on Thursday to try to negotiate an end to a political crisis there.
The leaders of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Niger met with Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the opposition Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko.
Other opposition leaders were also in that meeting at a hotel in the capital Bamako but it ended without a deal.
The ECOWAS leaders hope Monday’s meeting will help propose viable measures to end the deepening political crisis in Mali.
“We have decided that we will report back to all the heads of state during an extraordinary meeting on Monday July 27,” said Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger’s President and current chair of the 15-member regional ECOWAS bloc.
“ECOWAS will take strong measures that will contribute to the resolutions of the crisis,” Issoufou told journalists after the meetings.
Earlier this month President Keita dissolved the constitutional court following unrest due to ongoing protests.
The top court is at the centre of controversy after it overturned provisional results for parliamentary elections in March.
Protesters have accused President Keita of failing to tackle Mali’s major crises including jihadist conflict, an economic crisis and the disputed elections.
The Muslim cleric Dicko told journalists on Thursday that there had been no progress, and nothing had been offered that was acceptable to them.
“M5-RFP demands the resignation of Keita or the satisfaction of our demands,” he said.
The protesters want the establishment of a committee of inquiry into civilian deaths and a transitional government, the group’s spokesman Nouhoum Togo was quoted by Reuters on Thursday as saying.
Mali has for years now struggled to overcome the activities of terrorists with the region remaining unstable since 2012 when jihadist fighters seized the desert north of the country.
Although French troops helped to recapture the north, violence still continues. Not even the presence of United Nations troops will help restore order.
The West African leaders say they are acutely aware of the danger a destabilised Mali poses to the region.
Keita, who was re-elected in 2018 for a second five-year term, has struggled to address the security crisis.