Mali’s new president sworn in after coup

Mali’s new president sworn in after coup

BAMAKO - The Associated Press
Mali’s new president sworn in after coup

Malian Interim President Traore (L) is congratulated by coup leader Sanogo.

Former parliament speaker Dioncounda Traore took over as Mali’s interim president yesterday from the leaders of last month’s coup, promising to hold elections and fight Tuareg and Islamist rebels occupying half the country.

Traore, 70, a labor activist turned politician, was sworn in by Supreme Court President Nouhoum Tapily in the capital Bamako as part of a deal to restore civilian rule after army officers staged a March 22 coup in the West African state. The coup shattered predominantly Muslim Mali’s image as one of the most peaceful and stable states in the region. Triggered by army anger over the previous civilian government’s failure to tackle a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north, it backfired spectacularly, allowing the rebels to advance and declare a northern separatist homeland. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters are among the occupying rebels.

“We will never negotiate the partition of Mali,” Traore said in his inauguration speech in which he promised to organize “free and transparent elections over the whole of the national territory.”
Former President Amadou Toumani Toure, deposed by last month’s coup, formally resigned to facilitate the transition deal with the coup leaders.