Mali: Opposition Group Rejects Offer To Meet President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

The "June 5 Movement" said in a statement that it could not reach the 75-year-old Keita as its "activists are subject to a manhunt by the regime's repressive forces".
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President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita [ Picture Courtesy- CGTN Africa ]

Mali 's opposition has declined an invitation to negotiate with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to defuse a political crisis that lasted months.

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who is the chief international mediator in the crisis, suggested the meeting on Thursday before the scheduled end of his most recent trip to the Sahel state.

He had arrived in Bamako on Monday, the eve of massive anti-Keita protests last day. No major or confirmed violent incidents have occurred but the visit of Goodluck Jonathan after meeting with the government and the opposition has again failed to produce desired results. Prior to that, he had led a mediation mission to the nation in July.

The "June 5 Movement" said in a statement that it could not reach the 75-year-old Keita as its "activists are subject to a manhunt by the regime's repressive forces".

"Today, there is unspeakable repression followed by hasty judgments that we cannot accept. Today there are political detainees from our ranks and we do not intend to enter into any discussion until they are released outright. No provisional release, but a definitive release." - Mountaga Tall, leader of the June 5 Movement told journalists Thursday.

Mali is in the midst of a profound political impasse between President Boubacar Keita and the movement on June 5.

Concerns about the Sahel state slipping into anarchy and badly affecting an already troubled region are triggering concerted mediation attempts from the ECOWAS regional bloc of 15 members.

Yet the so-called "June 5 Movement," which consists of the country's main opposition and religious leaders, has continued to reject ECOWAS proposals and insist on the resignation of President Keita.