Mali’s Prime Minister Resigns

Posted December 10th, 2012 at 11:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Mali's interim Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra has resigned, just hours after he was arrested by soldiers as he was allegedly trying to leave the country.

Mr. Diarra made a brief statement on national television early Tuesday, announcing his departure.

Officials say soldiers loyal to Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led Mali's coup earlier this year, arrested the prime minister at his home late Monday as he prepared to leave for France.

Tensions had been mounting in recent weeks between the prime minister and the officers who led the coup.

Islamist militants seized control of northern Mali in April, a few days after a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure.

In August, the country had formed a unity government under the leadership of the interim prime minister. He had been sharing power with Sanogo and interim President Diouncounda Traore.

On Monday, the U.N. Security Council called for a “swift” response to the crisis in Mali, saying the situation there threatens regional peace and security.

The 15-nation Council said that a comprehensive and strategic approach is needed that includes restoring Mali's territorial integrity and preventing further destabilization of other countries in Africa's Sahel region.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS was represented at Monday's Security Council meeting by Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby. He urged the Council to quickly authorize an African-led force of 3,300 troops to help restore stability to Mali.

In Brussels, EU foreign ministers approved a plan to deploy an EU military training mission in Mali to help the government regain control of the north. Under the plan, some 250 EU military personnel would be sent there to train Malian troops and help restructure the country's weakened army.