Coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, right, shakes hands with Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, after signing an accord agreeing to return the country to constitutional rule, in Sanogo’s office at junta headquarters in Kati, outside Bamako, Mali Friday, April 6, 2012. Under intense pressure from the nations bordering Mali, Sanogo, the junior officer who seized control of the country in a coup last month signed an accord agreeing to return the country to constitutional rule. The announcement was made late Friday, only hours after separatist rebels in the country’s distant north declared their independence. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Under intense pressure from the nations bordering Mali, the junior officer who seized control of the country in a coup last month signed an accord late Friday, agreeing to return the nation to constitutional rule.
The announcement came only hours after separatist rebels in Mali’s distant north declared their independence, a move that further complicates a crisis that began 16 days ago when a group of disgruntled soldiers stormed the presidential palace, reversing two decades of democratic rule in the space of a day.
On Friday, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo emerged from his office inside the same military base where the mutiny began and which has acted as the de facto seat of government ever since the March 21 coup.
Flanked by the ministers of neighboring nations, he read out the accord, stating that under Article 36 of Mali’s constitution the head of the national assembly becomes interim president in the event of a vacancy of power. The head of the parliament will form an interim government, which will organize new elections.