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Africa

UN condemns ousting of Mali's Diarra

The UN and the US have condemned the ousting of Mali's Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra by the army, warning that sanctions may follow. A former presidential palace official has been named as the new premier.

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday condemned the forced resignation and arrest of Malian Prime Minister Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra, and threatened to express its displeasure through sanctions.

Soldiers were reported to have detained Diarra at the Kati military camp on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako. The soldiers who arrested Diarra alleged that he had tried to leave the country after attempting to "incite trouble."

A former administrator at the presidential palace, Django Sissoko, was announced as the new prime minister late on Tuesday, in a presidential decree read on state television. That announcement came after the UN had expressed its displeasure.

"The members of the Security Council condemn the arrest, on December 10, 2012, of the prime minister of Mali, Mr. Cheick Modibo Diarra, by members of the Malian Armed Forces," a Council statement said.

Malian PM resigns after arrest

"The members of the Security Council express their readiness to consider appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those who prevent the restoration of the constitutional order and take actions that undermine stability in Mali," it added.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also "troubled" by the new developments in Mali, according to his spokesman.

The United States described the premier's arrest as a "setback."

"We condemn this act by the military junta and insist that it halt its continued interference in Malian political affairs and government," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

'Not a Putsch'

Diarra appeared on state television at 4 a.m. local time Tuesday, soon after his arrest, to announce he was quitting his post.

"Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation, you are hoping for peace," Diarra said. "It's for this reason that I, Cheick Mobido Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government."

"This is not a putsch," army colonel Diaran Kone later told the DPA news agency.

The events come a day after the European Union announced that it would send 250 soldiers to help train the country's armed forces as it sought to regain control of the north. Around half of Mali is currently occupied by a mixture of Tuareg rebels and Islamists with alleged ties to the North African branch of al-Qaeda. The EU said on Tuesday that the developments in the capital, Bamako, had not yet changed this plan.

Malian soldiers, led by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, seized power in Bamako in an earlier coup in March - saying they were reacting to the government's inability to fight the northern insurgency. Under international pressure, Diarra and interim President Dioncounda Traore were appointed to lead a government until elections could be organized in the divided country.

DPA also reported that Diarra's resignation had stemmed from tensions between himself, President Traore and Captain Sanogo, citing sources close to the president.

sej,rc/pfd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

DW.DE

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