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Mission to Mali: Jonathan briefs Buhari, says opposition insists on power change

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ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali and Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan today met with President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him on the outcome of his meeting with the various parties in the ongoing political crisis engulfing the Francophone African country.

Although the meeting held behind closed doors, Jonathan told president Buhari that Mali’s main opposition group, M5 remained adamant on its call for President Keita to step down from power.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari receives briefing on Mali crisis from ECOWAS special envoy, Goodluck Jonathan’.

Adesina quoted Jonathan as saying that the opposition group’s position is not acceptable to ECOWAS.

The said in the statement: “President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday received his immediate predecessor in office, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, at State House, Abuja.

“Dr Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to the Republic of Mali, briefed on the political situation in the West African country, as corollary to efforts by West African leaders to restore stability to the country.

 “President Buhari and four other ECOWAS leaders had visited Bamako, Mali, last month, followed by a virtual extraordinary summit of the sub-regional body.

“Dr Jonathan, who was in Mali from Monday to Thursday, last week, recounted his meetings with the stakeholders, including political and religious leaders, Ambassadors of US, France, Russia, Germany, European Union, and other important personalities key to peace and cohesion in the country.

“The main opposition group, M5, he said, continued to insist on the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a position not acceptable to ECOWAS, which insisted only on democratic process in change of power within its jurisdiction.”

Adesina further quoted Jonathan as telling Buhari that his delegation told the opposition members that no international body will agree to their demand.

“We told them that no international organisation, including the African Union, United Nations, and others, would agree with their position.

“We continued to emphasise the need for dialogue,” the presidential aide quoted Jonathan as saying.

He said Jonathan added that the Constitutional Court had been reconstituted and inaugurated, while vacancies in the Supreme Court had been filled, thus sorting out the judicial arm of government.

“President Buhari thanked Dr Jonathan for what he called ‘the stamina you have displayed’ on the Mali issue, and counselled further consultations with the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic,” the statement concluded.

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