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Civilian prime minister appointed in Mali with eye on removal of ECOWAS sanctions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo taken on March 24, 2008 shows then Malian minister for foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, at a presser at the Foreign Ministry in Bamako. (Photo by AFP)

Moctar Ouane, Mali's former foreign minister and a civilian, has been appointed as the African nation’s interim prime minister, in a political gesture that would likely convince the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift the sanctions it slapped on the country in the wake of last month's military coup. 

The appointment of a civilian prime minister was a major prerequisite set by the West African regional economic bloc to remove the economic sanctions imposed on Mali following the junta's takeover of the country

Following the August 18 mutiny by Malian armed forces, ECOWAS 15 member states closed their borders with and stopped financial flows to the country, exerting pressure on the junta to hand back the government to civilians.

Ouane, 64, had served as Mali’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and later as a diplomatic adviser to ECOWAS.

From 2004 to 2011, under former President Amadou Toumani Toure, he was minister of foreign affairs.

Mali’s new transitional president, former Defense Minister Bah Ndaw, appointed Ouane as prime minister on Sunday.

Ndaw, himself a retired colonel, was sworn into office as Mali's transitional president on Friday.

Junta coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita agreed to let Ndaw act as the head of the transitional government until presidential elections are held in 18 months. Goita made himself Ndaw's vice-president.

Five weeks ago, former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was overthrown by the junta.



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