Mali’s Interim President Addresses Fractured Nation

Posted July 29th, 2012 at 8:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore has announced plans to overhaul his transitional government and request foreign help in retaking the country's north from Islamist militants.

In a televised speech to the nation Sunday, Mr. Traore said he will lead an interim government with two vice presidents until new elections can be held. He said the president, prime minister and other government ministers would not be eligible to run for office in the next elections.

The speech marked his first address to the Malian people since his return Friday to Bamako from medical treatment in France. Anti-government protesters stormed the presidential palace in May and severely beat Mr. Traore in his office.

In his speech on Sunday, the president said Mali is at a “crucial turning point” in its evolution.

After a short-lived March 22 military coup, Tuareg separatists and Islamist militants seized northern Mali. In recent weeks, the al-Qaida-linked militants have solidified their power in the north.

In the south, there are concerns about unity and stability within the transitional government and claims that the former military regime is continuing to meddle in governmental affairs.

Mr. Traore is expected to formally request United Nations approval for a foreign military contingent to help restore order in Mali. West African regional group ECOWAS has set aside about 3,300 troops for Mali.