Bamako - The leader of putschists who ousted Mali's president in March will retain the title of former head of state and all privileges coming with it, interim authorities and the West African ECOWAS bloc said Sunday.
“Captain Amadou Sanogo has the status of former head of state. He will have all the benefits coming with his rank,” Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, one of the mediators in the post-coup crisis, said on state radio.
The Malian authorities and ECOWAS mediators also agreed on a transition period to full democratic rule of one year, which will start after a 40-day interim period imposed by the constitution under interim President Dioncounda Traore.
Traore, 70, will lead the country during the transition, sources close to the putschists and the Economic Community of West African States mediators told AFP.
He was president of Mali's parliament until the ouster of president Amadou Toumani Toure by the military on March 22.
Sunday's agreements were signed by Sanogo, Traore, his Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra and Bassole, sources close to Sanogo and the mediators said.
Bassole and the foreign ministers of Ivory Coast and Nigeria, Adama Bictogo and Mohamed Nourredine, have been on their mediation mission in Bamako since Saturday, when they reached an agreement in principle for Traore to head the transition period until elections can be held.
No timeline was then given.
After the March 22 coup the putschists agreed to return power to a civilian government following an agreement with ECOWAS. Traore was inaugurated as interim president on April 12 but has so far failed to put an end to the political crisis.
ECOWAS leaders announced at a summit in Abidjan on April 26 that the transition period would last 12 months and called on the putschists to return to their barracks.
But the military rejected the summit decisions and so far effectively cling to power.
On Friday, Mali's parliament unanimously passed a bill granting amnesty to the coup leaders.
The bill, which must be signed by the president before becoming law, was part of the ECOWAS-mediated transition deal.
While the junta justified the coup saying the government was not doing enough to fight a rebellion by ethnic Tuareg rebels in the north, the power vacuum in Bamako has enabled Islamist and Tuareg fighters to seize most of the vast desert north, effectively splitting the country in two. - Sapa-AFP
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