Malian Politician Says Parties Ready to Work With Transitional Government

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 1:55 am (UTC-5)
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A prominent Malian politician says he believes most political parties will work with a new transitional government, as the country prepares to swear in an interim president.

Cheick Traore, leader of the African Convergence for Renewal party, told VOA Malians want to return to a “normal constitutional life.”

“We will have to work with the transitional government because what we all want today is peace in this country. Also, we want the elections to be organized so we can have a new elected president.”

Mali's parliament speaker, Dioncounda Traore, is expected to be sworn in Thursday and will have a maximum of 40 days under the constitution to organize a new election.

The transition is part of a deal struck last week between the Economic Community of West African States and renegade Malian soldiers who ousted former president Amadou Toumani Toure.

Cheick Traore warned that while the military is stepping aside, people should understand it will still play a role in ensuring that the transition goes smoothly.

“The politicians and civilians better make it happen right this time, not to mess it up, so that we will not have another coup. That's what I would recommend to everybody — let's make this thing work.”

ECOWAS has pledged to help Mali fight Tuareg separatists who, with the help of radical Islamic militants, have seized major northern cities from the army and proclaimed the north as an independent state.

“The most important thing for ECOWAS to do is to train Malian soldiers and to equip them – and nobody should fight for Mali. It's Malians that should fight for Mali.”

Mr. Toure was ousted in a March 22 military coup after soldiers accused the president of failing to properly equip them to handle the Tuareg rebellion in the north.

The United Nations Security Council has expressed “deep concern at the increased terrorist threat” in northern Mali, saying elements of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and extremist elements are among the Tuareg fighters.