Mali Coup Leader Mets With Interim President

Mali leaders meeting
Captain Sonogo meets the man set to replace him

Mali’s coup leader Army Captain Amadou Sanogo on Monday met with Dioncounda Traoré, the man set to be sworn in as the country’s interim president to oversee the transition back to constitutional rule.

The two men discussed when Sanogo would hand over power to allow the return of democratic rule in the troubled west African nation, now half controlled by Islamists and rebels.

Traoré, currently Mali’s speaker of parliament, met Sanogo in the presence of international mediators for about an hour at a military camp near the capital Bamako.

“We established a framework” of focus points, said Côte d’Ivoire’s African Integration Minister Adama Bictogo who, along with Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, is acting as mediator. “No-one lost anything and no-one won anything,” he added.

Sanogo told reporters the encounter “went well”, adding that more information would be released soon.

A Burkina Faso official said it was hoped the first cabinet meeting could be held before Friday.

Traoré will be tasked with organising elections, if possible within 40 days.

The March coup set off a sequence of events that saw the northern desert half of the vast and deeply impoverished nation fall to Tuareg rebels and their Islamist allies, triggering a major humanitarian crisis.

The meeting came the day after Amadou Toumani Touré, who was ousted in the coup, formally resigned Mali’s presidency under the deal which also saw the lifting of sanctions that had been imposed by west African states.

Under the transition deal, Touré’s departure means Sanogo must prepare to step down and allow for Traoré to be sworn in as interim president, but it was not immediately clear exactly when that would happen.

Transitional authorities must address the situation in the north, which since the coup has been overrun by Tuareg rebels, outlaws and Islamic extremists who exploited the political and military disarray in Bamako.