BAMAKO — Mali's military junta and the West African bloc ECOWAS announced a deal on state television late Friday that includes the lifting of sanctions and an amnesty for those involved in the coup.
The deal provides a framework for a return to constitutional rule under an interim leader who will oversee democratic elections and handle the crisis in the north, where Islamists and Tuareg rebels have seized control.
ECOWAS chief Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast said the sanctions should be lifted "immediately", Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole told public television station ORTM.
He also said President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown on March 22 and has since not been seen in public, should be able to live where he wants under army protection.
Bassole, speaking on behalf of ECOWAS Mali negotiator Blaise Compaore, said: "We wanted... Toure to be allowed to return to the house of his choice and that he could also be protected by the defence and security forces."
He was speaking at Kati near Bamako, the headquarters of the junta whose head, Captain Amadou Sanogo, had read out the accord signed with the Economic Community of West African States.
At the same place coup leader Sanogo had announced Tuesday that the junta planned legal action against Toure for "high treason and embezzlement."
On April 2 ECOWAS decided to clamp an immediate total embargo on Mali, a north African country of 15 million inhabitants, in a bid to return to constitutional order after last month's military coup.
The embargo included the closing of all borders of ECOWAS states with Mali except for humanitarian reasons, closing to Mali access to ECOWAS ports, and the freezing of Malian bank accounts.
Oxfam and other international relief organisations expressed concern at the measures, saying they would increase the exposure of the population to famine.
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