Mali’s military junta has begun consultations to discuss its promised transition to civilian rule after mounting pressure from the international community.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Colonel Assimi Goita had pledged to step down after an undefined transition period.
However, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and former colonial ruler France demanded a swift transfer of power, with fears the crisis could impact neighbouring states.
Saturday’s summit was originally planned for last weekend but was called off at the last minute after a quarrel between the military and the June 5 Movement, which spearheaded the protests that led to the toppling of President Boubacar Keita.
The June 5 movement has, however, been included in the rescheduled consultations
Parallel talks are also expected to take place in regional capitals, led by regional governors.
One of the key issues at the consultative forum will be the length of the transition to civilian rule.
The junta had initially demanded a three-year transition to civilian rule, before bringing that down to two years.
ECOWAS, on the other hand, wants democratic elections conducted within 12 months.
Before the mutiny, Mali had been plagued by chronic instability, jihadist revolt, ethnic violence, and endemic corruption.