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Mali coup:Regional leaders had recently met and demanded the installation of an interim civilian administration by September 15.

A three-day national consultation is under way in Mali as its military rulers race to avoid sanctions. The regional block of ECOWAS issued a September 15 deadline for the coup leaders to appoint a civilian president and a prime minister.

Mali’s military government has pushed through a political charter to establish an 18-month transition government that could lead to the appointment of a soldier as interim president, despite objections from the coalition that led anti-government protests before last month’s coup.

Approval for the road map, meant to chart the country’s course after the August 18 coup that toppled embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, came on Saturday after three days of negotiations between the military government, political leaders and civil society groups.

Regional and international powers, fearful that political instability will undermine a years-long fight against armed groups across West Africa’s Sahel region, have pushed for a swift transition back to civilian rule.

The charter says the interim president can be a civilian or a soldier and will preside over a transitional period of 18 months before elections are held, said Moussa Camara, the spokesman for the talks.

The interim president will be selected by electors chosen by the military government, Camara said.

A previous draft of the charter had said the transition would last two years and the interim president would be directly chosen by the military rulers, the so-called National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).

“We make a commitment before you to spare no effort in the implementation of all these resolutions in the exclusive interest of the Malian people,” CNSP president Colonel Assimi Goita said on Saturday.

“What awaits us now is the hard work, the implementation of these resolutions.”

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