Mali: Transitional president appointed

Dioncounda Traoré was appointed transitional president of Mali on 12 April. He is to start restoring the West African country’s constitutional order to resolve the crisis which was triggered when sections of the military carried out a coup. The situation in northern Mali continues to arouse concern.

Minister of State Cornelia Pieper has welcomed Traoré’s appointment as “an important step forward”. At the same time, she congratulated ECOWAS on its successful mediation work. The regional organization negotiated with the Malian coup leaders an agreement which included the formation of an interim government charged with preparing free elections. The international community welcomed the agreement, and Foreign Minister Westerwelle called on the mutineers led by Amadou Sanogo to “follow their words with deeds” and implement the agreement without delay.

Sanogo led sections of the military in overthrowing President Amadou Toumani Touré in a coup on 21-22 March. The Heads of State and Governance of ECOWAS then imposed sanctions against Mali. The sanctions included the closing of the borders of neighbouring countries and the freezing of Mali’s state account at the West African central bank.

The toppled President Touré officially resigned after the agreement was reached, thereby doing his part in clearing the way for the desired transitional government.

Concern over developments in the north

Tuaregs in the northern Mali civil war (file photo)

Tuaregs in the northern Mali civil war (file photo)
© picture-alliance/Ferhat Bouda

Bild vergrößern
Tuaregs in the northern Mali civil war (file photo)

Tuaregs in the northern Mali civil war (file photo)

Tuaregs in the northern Mali civil war (file photo)

The international community remains deeply concerned about developments in northern Mali, where Tuareg groups and Islamist forces advanced against the Malian army and the central government amidst the chaos of the coup. Large swathes of northern Mali are now in the hands of these rebel groups. On 6 April one of the rebel groups there declared an independent state, which has not been internationally recognized. Foreign Minister Westerwelle has also stated that for the German Government, the territorial integrity of Mali is not open to question.

The unclear situation in northern Mali has fed into international concern over the growing influence of al-Qaida and other Islamist groups. Attempts to forcefully impose Sharia law have been reported in some cities. In a presidential statement on 4 April, the United Nations Security Council declared itself “alarmed” at the presence of al-Qaida in the region, which could further destabilize the security situation.

On 12 April Minister of State Pieper reaffirmed the German Government’s concern about the “danger of ongoing extremist violence and terrorism emanating from northern Mali”.

Pieper said that Germany expressly continued to support ECOWAS and the African Union in their efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in northern Mali.

The United Nations assumes that since January more than 200,000 people have left northern Mali for neighbouring countries due to the fighting between Tuareg and government forces; an additional roughly 93,000 people have been internally displaced.

Current travel advice for Mali

Until further notice the Federal Foreign Office advises against travel to Mali. Germans currently in the country are urgently advised to leave Mali immediately via the commercial transport options which are still available.

Last updated 12.04.2012

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