Talks between W Africa mediators, Mali coup leaders enter 2nd day

'Discussions going very well,' says ECOWAS mission head as talks with military over Keita's fate, sanctions continue.

    im????Neighbouring countries have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the visit by the 15-member ECOWAS delegation was to help "ensure the immediate return of constitutional order".

    Mali's new military rulers have welcomed the visit but have not talked of restoring Keita to power.

    Keita is being detained at a military camp in the town of Kati outside the capital, Bamako. Jonathan met him on Saturday, saying the 75-year-old is "very fine".

    Keita took office after winning a 2013 election, presenting himself as a unifying figure and promising to tackle corruption. He was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term, but failed to make headway against the conflict that has rendered large parts of the country ungovernable.

    im????The violence, in which armed groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL have stoked ethnic tensions while jockeying for power, has spilled into the neighbouring countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilising the wider Sahel region and creating a serious humanitarian crisis.

    im????Regional leaders fear the violence could further spread into the generally more stable West African coastal countries if the political unrest creates further instability.

    In recent months, opposition supporters have staged mass rallies calling for Keita's departure and his toppling prompted thousands of jubilant Malians to celebrate in the streets of Bamako.

    The coup leaders said they "completed the work" of the protesters and have promised to quickly put a "transitional council" in place.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies