Published: 11:18, September 28, 2020 | Updated: 16:01, June 5, 2023
Diplomat named Mali PM, meeting regional bloc demand for civilian
By Reuters

In this Sept 21, 2006 file photo, Mali's then Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Moctar Ouane addresses the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters. Mali's transitional president Bah N'Daw on Sept 27, 2020 appointed former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, as the West African nation's prime minister, with the appointment of a civilian prime minister being a major condition imposed by the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, on Mali to lift sanctions that were imposed after an Aug 18 coup. (FRANK FRANKLIN II / AP)

BAMAKO - Former foreign minister Moctar Ouane was named as Mali’s interim prime minister, state television said on Sunday, a move likely to trigger the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West Africa regional bloc in the aftermath of the military coup last month.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Friday it would lift sanctions, which have caused imports to Mali, a landlocked country, to slump 30 percent, once a civilian premier was named

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Friday it would lift sanctions, which have caused imports to the landlocked country to slump 30 percent, once a civilian premier was named.

It had softened initial demands that a purely civilian leadership be installed, and the appointment of Ouane comes two days after retired colonel Bah Ndaw was sworn in as president, and coup-leader Colonel Assimi Goita as vice president.

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International powers feared the coup could further destabilise the country and undermine a joint fight against Islamist insurgents there and in the wider Sahel region.

A veteran diplomat, Ouane, 64, served as Mali’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1995-2002, and as foreign minister in 2004-2011.

The men will be tasked with overseeing an 18-month transition back to civilian rule after the Aug 18 overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

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Ndaw, a retired colonel and former defence minister, signed a decree authorising Ouane’s selection, which the M5-RFP coalition of opposition groups welcomed, even though he was not their first choice.

“The M5-RFP must be willing to focus on the struggle, the reforms, the transparent elections, the crisis in the north and the centre... to support men capable of bringing the country out of this crisis,” said Nouhoum Togo, the group’s spokesman.