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- Malian military officer
Mali's military-dominated government has launched a four-day national forum on returning the country to civilian rule following the country's 2020 coup.
The military junta in Mali have showcased the "National Conference on Reform" as a chance for the public to foster change, but major groups have already lashed the project and said they will boycott it.
According to Mali's transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goita, the meeting - which began on Monday - "will make an unflinching assessment of the state of the nation [and] draw the best lessons from it."
"It will also be your task to make concrete proposals, to devise a solution for ending the crisis," he added.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Mali has enjoyed only brief spells of political stability over the past 60 years.
Timeline to democracy compromised
In August 2020, young officers led by Goita toppled the country's elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after weeks of street protests over perceived corruption and his handling of the jihadist insurgency across the Sahel.
Under pressure from France and Mali's neighbours, Goita pledged that Mali would return to civilian rule in February 2022 after holding presidential and legislative elections.
However in May this year, he staged a de facto second coup, forcing out an interim civilian government and disrupting the timetable.
On 12 December, Goita told the West African regional bloc ECOWAS that he would provide it with a new election schedule by 31 January.
Mali has a long history of national consultations to discuss problems and recommend solutions.
But several major parties and social organisations have snubbed the current process, demanding the swift holding of elections or criticising the discussions as fruitless.