The West African regional group (ECOWAS) is mulling a military intervention in Mali following last week’s coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure’s government.
But before committing its forces regional “leaders” want to exhaust all diplomatic channels with a delegation of five African leaders expected in Bamako for talks with the junta.
Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, the president of the ECOWAS commission revealed the scheme following the body’s meeting on Tuesday.
In addition to the military threat, ECOWAS plans to suffocate Captain Amadou Sanogo’s junta by cutting cash supplies. French speaking countries within the regional community share a common currency that is controlled by France.
The United States, the European Union and France have already cut off all but essential aid, representing a loss of tens of millions of dollars for the government. Additional sanctions may include suspension of gasoline imports from Côte d’Ivoire’s refineries.
Observers believe the Ivorian strategy could come into force anytime soon as President Alassane Ouattara a known puppet of France is the current rotating chair of ECOWAS.
Ouattara told reporters ECOWAS was taking these steps stop the erosion of democracy in Mali. ”We cannot allow this country endowed with such precious democratic instruments, dating back at least two decades, to leave history by regressing,” he said.
“It’s why Mali needs to immediately return its democratic institutions to normal.” ”This position is nonnegotiable,” Outtara grunted.
On Tuesday the state television announced that Mali would soon be under a new constitution, indicating the junta is moving forward with plans to create a new government, the National Committee for the Reestablishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, and not restoring the nation’s democratic order.
Mali, according to the “new constitution” will be run by the junta leader, a prime minister (to be appointed by Sanogo) and a committee made up of 27 soldiers and 15 civilians who will receive immunity from any future trials.
Sanogo was trained in the United States. He was an English language instructor at a military college in Mali.
Meanwhile, elections, which were set for April 29, have been cancelled by the junta, and no date has been set for the polls.
Wednesday, French public broadcaster, France24 indicated that French ambassador to Mali, Christian Rouyer, said he had made contact with the embattled President.
Mali is facing an insurgency in the north of the country by pro-Gaddafi Arabs who were recently driven out of Libya by NATO bombs and NTC militias, according to the UNHCR the insurgency is said to have driven over a hundred thousand Africans from their land and has triggered a food crisis in the country’s Sahel region.
Recently there have been massive protests by ordinary Malians and the wives of soldiers fighting the Arabs across the country against Amadou Toumani Toure’s government’s failure to protect the nation and to sufficiently equip the army to fight the Al-Qaeda linked militants, who are trying to establish an Islamic state in the north of the country.
Not surprisingly neither the African Union nor ECOWAS has offered Mali any help in stemming the continuous advance of Tuareg rebels in the north whose aim is to split the country in two and create a new Arab Islamic state in Africa. ECOWAS’s diplomatic maneuvers seems more geared towards helping a president who have failed to protect the territorial integrity of his country and aiding the Arab insurgents than it it to protect the rights of a fellow African state.
Meanwhile on Wednesday tens of thousands of Malians marched in support of the military junta in the capital Bamako, most Malian citizens are in support of the country’s new rulers and favour a more robust approach in dealing with the Arab militants that a wreaking havoc in the north of the country unhindered.