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Mali Names New Prime Minister After Former PM Arrest
December 20, 2012
By: Rebecca Aaberg | Printer Friendly

On December 11, Django Sissoko was named Malian interim Prime Minister by Malian interim President Diouncounda Traore after the arrest of his predecessor, Cheick Modibo Diarra. It is unclear what role the military played in Diarra’s resignation. Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led a coup in March against the democratically-elected government, told BBC that Diarra “had not been forced to quit and the military had only facilitated his resignation.” Colonel Idrissa Traore, spokesperson for the Army, told reporters that "The arrest was made by a small force loyal to Sanogo. The majority of the military officers in Bamako were not informed about the arrest of Mr. Diarra, and no one knows what will happen now."

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the military’s involvement in Diarra’s resignation: “The Secretary-General is troubled by the circumstances leading to the resignation of Mali’s Prime Minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra. The Secretary-General calls again for a cessation of military interference in politics and urges the Malian leadership to resolve any issues through peaceful means. These latest developments underscore the importance of sustained national and international efforts to address the political crisis in Bamako.  The Secretary-General calls on the Interim President, Dioncounda Traore, to expeditiously initiate consultations on the appointment of a consensual Prime Minister and the formation of a broad-based inclusive Government.  The Secretary-General stresses the urgency of moving forward with the National Dialogue in Mali in order to define a consensual road map for the transition that includes the holding of elections and leads to the full restoration of constitutional order and territorial integrity.” The United States (US) and the Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS) also released statements expressing their concern for the action and for Malian security.

Senior Official of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council El Ghassim Wane stressed the need to move past the arrest and resignation in order to return Mali to democracy: “As much as we strongly condemn the conditions under which the prime minister was compelled to resign, we also believe that we need to be forward looking and support the new prime minister and assist him and the authority of the interim president ... in precisely establishing and ensuring absolute civilian oversight over the military.”  

Diarra had supported plans by ECOWAS to send military troops to combat growing unrest in the northern part of the country. BBC reported that ECOWAS had “agreed to send 3000-troops to reclaim rebel-held territory.” The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union released a statement on December 10 supporting a 250-member troop training program, cautioning that the political process is key to Mali’s success: “The EU is concerned by the delays in the political transition process. It calls on political leaders in Bamako to demonstrate their commitment to work for the benefit of all Malians through the rapid adoption and implementation of a credible and consensual roadmap for the restoration of constitutional and democratic order in Mali, including a return to civilian control of the Malian Armed Forces and the organization of free and transparent elections as soon as possible. A credible framework for national dialogue is also essential in order to engage all Malians, including northern communities’ representatives and armed groups not involved in terrorist activities, in a process of reconciliation and peace building that respects the territorial integrity of the country and the rule of law. The EU recalls its willingness to gradually resume its development cooperation once a credible roadmap has been adopted and in light of progress in its implementation.”

Sissoko claimed that his first priority as prime minister will be to regain control of northern Mali and hold elections: “The priority is the recovery of the north and the organization of elections…. I want to create a government of national unity."
Diarra had become interim prime minister in April, after the military takeover of the government.

For more news on Mali, please see:
AU Lifts Ban on Mali, Prepares to Take Action

BBC - Django Sissoko Named as Mali Prime Minister

CNN - Mali's Prime Minister Abruptly Resigns after Arrest

Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union – Council Conclusions on Mali

Mail & Guardian - Diango Cissoko Named as Mali's Prime Minister

Washington Post - Mali Prime Minister Announces New Government Days After Predecessor Ousted by Military

United Nations - Secretary-General, Troubled By Events Around Prime Minister’s Resignation, Stresses Need to Proceed With National Dialogue in Mali



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