| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

Mali coup leader to attend emergency West African summit

West African leaders are set to discuss on Sunday how to respond to a coup in Mali, gathering in the Ghanaian capital Accra for a summit to be attended by Assimi Goita, who was named interim Malian president after leading the takeover last week.

The revolt has prompted sanctions warnings from foreign powers, which fear it will derail a promised transition back to democracy following another coup last August led by Goita, an army colonel.

Goita was appointed interim president on Friday, setting the country on a collision course with the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has insisted the transition, which is slated to end with elections in February, must be led by civilians.

Goita has flown to Accra for the summit, his administration said. The talks are scheduled to start at 1400 GMT.

ECOWAS shuttered borders with landlocked Mali and stopped financial transactions in response to last year’s coup. The sanctions caused a 30% slump in imports before they were lifted last October.

The bloc and Western powers including Washington and Paris fear the political crisis could exacerbate instability in central and northern Mali, a home base for regional affiliates of Islamic State and al Qaeda militant groups.