AU condemns Mali PM 'forced' resignation

Bloc says country's military must accept civilian authority, while welcoming swift appointment of new premier.

    The African Union (AU) has condemned the forced resignation of Cheick Modibo Diarra, the former Malian prime minister, insisting that the country's army must accept civilian authority.

    MALI CRISIS


    January:
    Tuareg fighters launch a rebellion in the north

    March: Military officers, led by Amadou Sanogo, depose President Toure, accusing him of failing to deal effectively with the rebellion.

    April: Tuareg rebels declare independence in the north as the government loses control of the region. A civilian interim government is formed, but the coup leaders remain influential.

    May:  Military leaders say they have foiled a counter-coup attempt by supporters of the ousted president.

    November:  African Union backs plan by regional bloc ECOWAS for military operation to recapture the north. UN is debating conditions for backing the operation.

    Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chief of the AU commission, "firmly condemns the conditions of the resignation" of Diarra, said a statement released on Wednesday.

    The AU demanded the military be "completely subordinate" to civil authorities, she added.

    Diarra left his post on Tuesday, under pressure from leaders of an earlier coup who are opposed to a military intervention to drive out rebel groups occupying the northern half of the country.

    Dioncounda Traore, the troubled West African nation's interim president, swiftly appointed Diango Cissoko to replace Diarra and promised a new government by the end of the week.

    Wednesday's AU statement stressed the "determination of the AU to ensure a scrupulous respect for constitutional legality" in Mali.

    Despite Diarra being forced from office, Dlamini-Zuma welcomed the appointment of a new prime minister.

    She expressed "hope at the early establishment of an inclusive government".

    Bakary Mariko, a spokesperson for the group of soldiers who seized power in a March 21 coup, told France 24 television that Diarra's resignation was "not a new coup d'etat".

    Mariko said Diarra was arrested as he tried to leave the country after "inciting trouble" and was put under house arrest.

    International intervention

    The UN Security Council condemned Diarra's arrest and renewed a threat to impose sanctions against those hampering "constitutional order".

    MALI - IN DEPTH
      Inside Story: Is military intervention necessary?
      Inside Story: Is the country heading for a split?
      Inside Story: Is the conflict a threat to the region?
      Explainer: The Tuareg rebels
      Tuareg rebellion: What next?
      The irrevocable crisis

    The Security Council said the action contravenes repeated UN calls for the Malian military to stop interfering in the west African nation's transition.

    The 15-member body stressed its "commitment to authorising as soon as possible the deployment of an African-led international support mission in Mali".

    France is drawing up a resolution giving a mandate to an international force. But negotiations have been prolonged by US opposition to sending just an African-led force to Mali.

    Diarra had been the interim prime minister since April when the army handed power back to civilians.

    The AU's comments followed similar condemnation by the United Nations and United States.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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