West Africa’s regional leaders have given the military junta in Mali until 15 September to name a transitional president and a prime minister, according to a statement read at the end of a summit.

The heads of state of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the president and prime minister, who will lead the transitional government, should be civilians.

The bloc, seeking to keep pressure on the junta, maintained sanctions it had placed on Mali, but welcomed steps taken by the junta in the past week to start talks with Mali’s political parties and civil society groups over the transition.

The ECOWAS union has closed its borders with landlocked Mali and halted financial flows amid concerns from some West African leaders the military coup could undermine their power and democratic gains in the region.

A group of army colonels has ruled Mali since ousting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on 18 August.

No consensus has yet been reached on the make-up and duration of a transitional government ahead of promised elections.

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