Mali junta backs 18-month transition government

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The head of Mali’s military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, vowed to establish an 18-month transition government Saturday, at the close of talks on returning the country to civilian rule following last month’s coup.

An expert group appointed by the junta adopted a charter for an 18-month transition government, the president of which would either be a military officer or a civilian.

“We make a commitment before you to spare no effort in the implementation of all these resolutions in the exclusive interest of the Malian people,” Goita said.

The interim president will be selected by electors chosen by the junta, Moussa Camara, the spokesman for the talks said in remarks at the end of three days of negotiations.

The M5-RFP coalition that led protests against President Ibrahim Boubcar Keita before the Aug. 18 coup has forcefully opposed the idea that a military officer could lead the transition.

So have Mali’s West African neighbors, who have also insisted on a transition of no more than one year.

(input from agencies)

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