Sanctions against the West African country of Mali could soon be lifted after the leaders of last month’s coup agreed to stand down to allow a handover to civilian rule.
An accord was signed on Friday between the military and a regional group of nations.
The coup’s leader, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, said a period of transition is needed to restore democracy:
“Because of the impossibility of organising elections in 40 days as set out under the constitution, it is indispensable to organise a political transition with the aim of organising free, democratic and transparent elections in all parts of the country.”
The deal came just hours after a group of Tuareg rebels in the north declared independence for the Azawad region which it claims to control.
The secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is one of two groups of rebels fighting in Northern Mali.
The other is as islamist group called Ansar Dine, who have reportedly also made some gains and imposed Sharia law in some towns.