Transition Talks Begin On Shaky Grounds As Ousted Mali President Exits Country


Ousted Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita left the country on Saturday for medical treatment in Abu Dhabi, an adviser said, as talks about a transition back to civilian rule following last month’s military coup began on shaky ground.

The former President was hospitalized in Mali’s capital, Bamako on Tuesday, six days after the ruling junta released him, after seizing power in August.

Reuters reports that Keita’s former chief of staff, Mamadou Camara, says the ousted President left Bamako on Saturday evening aboard a plane chartered by the United Arab Emirates at the request of Mali’s ruling junta.

Kamara informed that it is a medical visit of between 10 and 15 days, even as Keita’s medical condition remains unclear. The former president had in 2016 been treated of a benign tumor.

West African leaders have since dropped the demand for Keita’s reinstatement, but ate increasing the pressure for elections within a year: a timeline the junta, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), has not committed to.

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Discussions on the way forward with the transition to civilian rule opened on Saturday, as hundreds of representatives from the junta, political parties and civil society groups attending an opening ceremony in Bamako.

But less than an hour after it began, supporters of the M5-RFP coalition, which led mass demonstrations against Keita before the coup, began to protest, accusing the junta of excluding them from most working groups.

The talks, which are also being held in regional capitals across Mali, are scheduled to continue on Sunday and then resume again late next week.

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