Protesters rally in Mali after rejecting president's concessions
BAMAKO (Reuters) - Protesters staged another large demonstration in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday after a coalition opposed to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita rejected concessions aimed at resolving a months-long political stand-off. Thousands of protesters filled the city's Independence Square, chanting and waving banners that said: 'Enough is Enough' and 'IBK, clear off', referring to the president
BAMAKO (Reuters) - Protesters staged another large demonstration in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday after a coalition opposed to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita rejected concessions aimed at resolving a months-long political stand-off.
Thousands of protesters filled the city's Independence Square, chanting and waving banners that said: "Enough is Enough" and "IBK, clear off", referring to the president. It was the third mass protest in recent weeks.
The impasse since a disputed legislative election in March is a growing concern for Mali's neighbours and outside powers, who worry it could further destabilise the country and jeopardise a joint military campaign against Islamist insurgents in the West African Sahel region.
On Wednesday Keita, or IBK as he is known, said he was open to form a government of national unity and renew members of Mali's highest court, and if he could, dissolve the national assembly if it would not create a fresh crisis.
But his opponents said the proposals were not enough.
Protesters also gathered on Friday in Paris, which has a large Malian community.
Influential Muslim cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko, one of the leaders of the opposition protest in Mali, told France24 television that they had dropped the demand for the president to resign but want further gestures from him.
"This is because we think it (the resignation) will cause more problems than it will resolve," Dicko said. "Mali's problem is not about a government of national unity. It is a problem of governance."
However, some protesters at the Bamako rally were still calling for the president to step down.
"I see he can't lead this country," said 48-year-old storekeeper Alassane Cisse, who joined the protest despite once voting for Keita.
The protest follows two in June, when thousands gathered to demand that Keita resign for failing to offer solutions to the country's security and economic crisis.
Keita was re-elected in 2018 for a second five-year term, but his leadership has faced mounting opposition amid a surge in jihadist violence and economic crisis.
(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Bate Felix and Frances Kerry)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.