West African leaders urge civilian rule in Mali within days

ABURI, Ghana (AP) — West African leaders have emphasized that Mali’s junta should nominate civilian transitional leaders within days to lead the nation toward elections. Six leaders from the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, met with Mali’s junta Tuesday in Ghana, whose president now serves as the bloc’s new chairman. They agreed the junta must install a civilian president and vice president. ECOWAS insisted that the transitional leaders must be civilians, rejecting the junta’s suggestion that the leaders could come from the military. The regional leaders appear to have accepted the junta’s call for an 18-month transitional period to new elections, instead of the one-year timeline that the regional bloc originally proposed.