Mali’s new military leader has called on Tuareg rebels advancing in the north of the country to halt their campaign for independence and to hold talks.
Captain Amadou Sanogo who, with fellow army officers, ousted Mali’s president last week in a surprise coup, said everything was negotiable except for the unity of the country.
In a televised address, Sanogo made no mention of when he would be handing over power or holding elections, previously promised for next month.
Earlier, as many as 2,000 people marched through the streets of Mali’s capital calling for a return to civilian rule.
Political parties and other pressure groups on Sunday formed a United Democratic front, urging the soldiers to step down.
Meanwhile the United Nations Security Council has joined the chorus of rebuke against the coup, demanding the officers return to their barracks.