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Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:33PM
Mali’s new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Mali’s new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Keita, a former prime minister, won the presidential election against his rival Soumaila Cisse in the run-off on August 11, two weeks after the first round."
Iran President Hassan Rouhani has called for stronger relations with Mali in political, economic and cultural sectors. Rouhani made the remarks in a Tuesday message to Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, congratulating him on his election victory. “I hope that during your term in office, we will witness the full establishment of peace and tranquility in this country and further expansion of relations between Iran and Mali in all political, economic and cultural fields,” Rouhani said. Keita, a former prime minister, won the presidential election against his rival Soumaila Cisse in the run-off on August 11, two weeks after the first round. The government said voter turnout was 51.5 and 45.7 in the first and second rounds respectively. The election, the first since 2007, came following last year’s coup that ignited a rebel insurgency. Chaos broke out in Mali after Amadou Toumani Toure was unseated as president in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months. However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine militants then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas. In January 2013, France launched a war in the West African country under the pretext of driving out militants occupying the north. Analysts believe that Mali’s untapped resources, including oil, gold, and uranium, were behind the French military campaign. SF/KA/SS
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