By Ben  Agande, Abuja

The lingering problem in Mali took centre stage Friday  as President Goodluck Jonathan  met behind closed doors for hours with his counterparts from Cote d’Ivoire and Republic of Benin, Alassane Quattara and Boni Yayi respectively.

While Alassane Quattara is the chairman of  the Economic Community of West African states, Boni Yayi  is the chairman of the  African Union. Mr Quattara who spoke with state House correspondents noted that the unfolding development in Mali necessitated the meeting which he said was to seek President Jonathan’s support and advice on the challenges.

According to him, a final decision on whether troops would be deployed in the country would be made public in a couple of days.

”I was invited by President Jonathan to the inaugural ceremony of the National Defence College. I participated in the ceremony for the Class of 21 graduates. The theme of the conference was Ecowas as an instrument of Security and Peace.

”The theme is very key to what we are doing. As you know, Mali is a problem for all of us in West Africa, so I came to get the advice and support of President Jonathan on some of the problems we have in the sub region. You will know the decision taken on Mali in the next few days” he said.

He had announced in an interview with French weekly, Le Journal du Dimanche in July  that member state of ECOWAS would soon deploy troops in Mali if the situation in the country did not improve rapidly.

He said, “If the (Malian) situation does not evolve positively and quickly, yes, there will be a military intervention in Mali. It seems to me inevitable.


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