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Mali's president to name new PM within hours, junta tells FRANCE 24

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-11

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Mali’s junta rejected the claim that it was launching a new coup d’état and said that the president will use his constitutional powers to name a new prime minister within hours.

Executive powers will be transferred to a new prime minister “within the next few hours” following the arrest of premier Cheick Modibo Diarra, the military junta responsible for his detention told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday. In an exclusive telephone interview, junta spokesman Bacary Mariko said Diarra’s arrest was not a new coup and that President Dioncounda Traoré – who remains at his post – would use his constitutional powers to appoint a new prime minister.

“Cheick Modibo Diarra had two main responsibilities. The first was to liberate northern Mali and the second was to organise free and transparent elections. But one must recognise today that since his appointment, Mr. Diarra has not acted to fulfill his mission. Everything he has done has been for the benefit of his own personal agenda,” Mariko said.

The junta said that it had acted to restore order in the middle of an institutional crisis. “This will resolve the divisions that exist within the leadership. We have seen President Traoré visit Niger and give one statement while Cheick Modibo Diarra visits Chad and gives a completely different statement,” Mariko said. “The international community demands that Mali speak with a single voice … we think [his arrest] will help Mali have a government that speaks on its behalf and acts in its best interest.”

Junta soldiers critical of Bamako’s allegedly weak response to a Tuareg rebellion in the country's north led a coup last March, but later yielded to international pressure and ceded power to civilians. Originally considered to have close links to the military, Diarra has overseen a tumultuous time in which al Qaida-linked militants have usurped the northern rebellion and overrun the northern half of the country.

Junta ready to act alone against Islamists

The junta’s leader has been increasingly at odds with Diarra and Traoré over the military campaign to reclaim northern Mali. On Tuesday, junta spokesman Mariko said his group would not wait until September to launch an offensive, as has been proposed by international partners.

The UN's under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, said last week that he did not expect an international military offensive to oust Islamic militants to begin until the autumn of 2013 because of the need for training and difficulties posed by the rainy season in Mali.

“Mali has the necessary resources and willpower to liberate its country," Mariko told FRANCE 24. "We want the assistance of the international community, but if it has to wait until September or some later undefined date, the army will act independently to liberate its territory."


Date created : 2012-12-11

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