An internal report from regional mediators seen by the Reuters news agency speculates that the West African heads of state, who are meeting on Friday, are likely to tell the junta that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta that a transition to democratic rule should only last 12 months.
The coup has raised the prospect of further political turmoil in Mali which, like other countries in the region, has faced an expanding threat from Islamist militants and civil unrest.
The leaders of the military coup in Mali have told a delegation of West African mediators that they want to stay in power for a three-year transition period, Nigeria said on Wednesday.
Negotiators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were sent to Mali at the weekend to discuss a return to civilian rule with the military officers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the Aug. 18 coup.
But three days of meetings ended without a decision on the structure of a transitional government.
The junta leaders said after taking power that they acted because the country was sinking into chaos and insecurity which they said was largely the fault of poor government. They also promised to oversee a transition to elections within a “reasonable” amount of time.
The bloc has taken a hardline on the coup, shutting borders and halting some financial flows. “The military leaders want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country,” it said.
The report by envoys from the West African group Ecowas says that President Keïta should appoint a civilian to head the transition, Reuters reports. The military leaders had initially talked about a transition period lasting three years. Reuters also quotes the Ecowas report as saying that Mr Keïta stepped down voluntarily “for the peace and reconciliation of Mali”.