Mali’s President Formally Resigns

Posted April 8th, 2012 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Mali's President Amadou Toumani Toure, the democratically elected leader toppled in a military coup last month, has formally resigned from his post.

An international mediator for West Africa's ECOWAS bloc said they received a letter of resignation from Mr. Toure on Sunday, adding that they will inform “competent authorities” so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Under a deal reached Friday, former Malian speaker of parliament Dioncounda Traore will serve as the country's president with a transitional government until elections are held. He arrived in Mali's capital, Bamako, on Saturday.

Military coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, has said the junta is stepping aside for an interim government of national unity in return for amnesty and the lifting of trade and other sanctions ECOWAS imposed on the landlocked nation.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the military junta to quickly implement the accord and transfer power back to civilian leaders.

ECOWAS has pledged to help Mali fight the Tuareg rebels who, in the wake of the coup, have seized much of the country's north and proclaimed an independent state there. The coup leaders justified their takeover by denouncing what they said was the former government's ineffectual campaign to suppress the Tuareg rebellion.

Mali's neighbors all criticized the military takeover and the removal of President Amadou Toumani Toure. They also oppose the new “Azawad” state declared by the northern rebels.

In the rebels' advance against the Malian army and seizure of Timbuktu and other areas, the Tuaregs have been fighting alongside members of the radical Islamist group Ansar Dine.

The self-styled National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad controls Timbuktu, Gao city and other areas in the north. It declared the region independent Friday and said its military campaign was over. The heavily armed Tuaregs, formerly based in Moammar Gadhafi's Libya, began fighting in northern Mali in mid-January.

There has been nearly unanimous international rejection of the MNLA rebels' proclamation. In addition to ECOWAS and other African states, the United States, France and other European powers have said they do not recognize Azawad.