Mali: Jonathan briefs President Buhari, says President no longer interested in ruling
This was according to Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, and who was at the Villa to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis in the West African country on Wednesday.
Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position.
“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People,” Dr Jonathan was quoted as saying in a statement by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The meeting comes ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS Heads of State and Leaders scheduled to take place on Friday.
Briefing the President on his recent visit to Mali, Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President who confirmed that he resigned from office voluntarily.
The former president also brought President Buhari up to speed on dialogue with the military coup leaders seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections in the country.
He added, “We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad and not return to answer questions they may have for him.
“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an interim government headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months and a maximum of 12 calendar months.
“The Interim Government would then organise elections to restore full constitutional order.”
According to the former president, the military leaders in Mali want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place as it is already affecting the country.
In response, he said, “But we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS Heads of State.”
President Buhari, in his remarks, stressed that the priority in Mali now should be securing the country which he said was largely occupied by terrorists.
“About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests,” he stated.
The President was, however, hopeful that the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday.
He also believes the ECOWAS leaders will arrive at an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties.