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UPDATE 1-West Africa's BCEAO cbank reopens in Mali for first time since coup

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BAMAKO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The regional branch of West Africa’s BCEAO central bank has reopened in Mali for the first time since a military coup last week, Hamadoun Ba, the president of Mali’s banking lobby, told Reuters on Monday.

The reopening by the branch could ease a potential funding crunch, and payment of August salaries Mali was facing after the regional bloc suspended the country from its institutions and cut financial flows due to the military takeover.

“The BCEAO opened its branches this morning, they said they were closed due to security issues. There was a liquidity risk, since our funds are deposited with BCEAO if it closes, how do we access our funds?” Ba said.

A source at the bank confirmed that the branch was open but declined to provide any further details.

Mediators from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to meet Mali’s military junta for a third day of negotiations on Monday aimed at returning the country to civilian rule.

The parties reached agreement on certain points during all-day talks on Sunday, but some outstanding issues remained. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams and Chizu Nomiyama)

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