Malian Government Focused on Regaining Control of North

Posted August 21st, 2012 at 5:05 am (UTC-5)
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A Malian official says a new national unity government will prioritize re-establishing control in the country's north and that radical Islamists holding that territory have no place in the government.

Hamadoune Toure, Mali's minister for communication and government spokesman, told VOA (English-to-Africa) that hardline Islamists seeking to impose Sharia law in the north are not welcome. He says the government will move forward with plans to seek outside help in liberating the region.

“We have two priorities: re-establish territorial integrity of Mali in the north, the second priority is organizing elections. The government will start working as soon as possible and try to get support from ECOWAS, from the African Union and from the United Nations.”

The new government announced Monday has 31 ministerial posts and replaces a transitional government created in April following a military coup.

Toure says government ministers must work for the country and not any political faction.

Western and regional states have been concerned about the stability of the transitional government because of infighting and alleged meddling by the former military government.