Mali’s neighbours have threatened to use sanctions and even military force to remove the army officers behind last week’s coup.
At a summit of the Economic Community of West African States it was agreed that a team of national leaders would be sent to confront the junta members within 48 hours.
Ivory Coast’s president and chairman of the bloc, Alassane Ouattara said: “dialogue and consultation will be the first instruments in the search for a solution. But there would be no hesitation in using any other options dictated by circumstances.”
Already the US and EU have cut off aid – additional sanctions would be a major blow to the junta which has been accused of erasing two decades of democratic rule in a matter of hours.
Meanwhile in Mali’s capital the coup leaders have announced the adoption of a new constitution that will guarantee democracy.
However opposition parties plan to bring the country to a standstill through a general strike to force the junta to return the country to civilian rule.
Last weeks coup was born out of frustration at the president’s failure to deal with a two-month insurgency in the north. But so far support within the country appears to have been minimal.