FACED with sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a sobre-looking team from the embattled military junta in Mali on Tuesday met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru and other Nigerian officials in Abuja.
After the parley, the Federal Government said it would hold further consultations with the leadership of ECOWAS before taking a decision on the matter.
The team was in Abuja to convey a “strong” message from the new military leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo. The meeting, which lasted for eight hours, stretched well into the night on Tuesday. Nigeria, however did not accede to the request of the Malian officials of recognition for the present military regime in their country.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, had left for Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to meet with that country’s president and chairman of the ECOWAS, Alhassane Ouatarra.
The Malian team led by special envoy, Col. Blonkoro Samake (rtd.) explained the situation in Bamako and sought for a way out of the increasing isolation of the West African country by ECOWAS.
The country is also under threats of sanctions by the European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S). The Sanogo-led junta is reaching out to regional powers in a bid to stave off further international isolation and more regime-weakening economic measures.
Samake, whose team started conferring with Ashiru at 12 noon on Tuesday had only a few words at the opening session.
They broke at 2 p.m. and went back in closed door parley and by 6 p.m. officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by its spokesperson, Ogbole Ode, announced that the meeting would have to continue because “consultations were still on.”
Before the closed door talks, Samake told the Nigerian team, which also included Mohammed, that his country needed time to return to democratic governance.
He said: “We are here on a mission. It is about democracy, about restoration of the state. So we have come with the authority of President Sanogo to explain the situation in Mali. First, there is a rebellion in the northern part of our country created from outside. That means we have to debate security in Mali. The rebellion attacks the symbol of the state, of the authority of the state. The attack by the soldiers has created problems, so the government (military junta) mandated us to come and explain this to Nigeria.”
Even though the tone of the meeting indicated that constitutional order would be speedily restored in Mali, Abuja made it clear yesterday that: “Nigeria is opposed to the military takeover and has no intention of granting recognition to the military leadership in Bamako.”
Dispelling insinuations that a deal had been cut with the junta, the ministry in a statement explained that, “Nigeria will continue to work with the leadership of ECOWAS, especially with a view to ensuring the restoration of constitutional order in Mali and on the basis of a peace plan that is still being worked out in consultation with the principal actors in Mali and ECOWAS.”
Last week, Nigeria was among the high level delegation, which ECOWAS sent to Mali in the quest to restore constitutional order to that country following the March 22, 2012 coup that ousted President Ahmani Toumani Toure from office
According to official statistics, 70 per cent of the country’s overall energy demand comes from traditional biomass of wood and inefficiently produced charcoal.
|< Prev||Next >|