The volatile nation of Mali on Friday was scrambling to maintain political stability after high-stakes mediation efforts by a group of West African presidents failed to resolve the rifts between rivals.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana led the mediation together with former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in the capital Bamako.
The group first met with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, followed by talks with a coalition of opposition groups who are calling for Keita’s resignation.
But late on Thursday, none of the parties were willing to make concessions, bringing the mediation to a standstill.
The coalition led by popular cleric Mahmoud Dicko accused Keita’s administration of “bad governance and non-governance,” at the end of the talks, while a spokesman for Keita’s camp described the calls for the president’s resignation as unconstitutional.
The mediation efforts come after several weeks of violent protests, during which dozens of people were killed.
Tens of thousands of opposition supporters accuse Keita of gross intimidation and buying votes during a controversial parliamentary election in April, which gave Keita’s administration a firm majority.
Political instability in Mali is seen as a dangerous development for the entire Sahel region, which already faces ongoing threats from numerous terrorist and separatist groups.