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Restoring Malian Democracy

Mali's Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra (C), a former NASA astrophysicist, speaks during a meeting with political figures from northern Mali in Bamako, August 10, 2012. The meeting was held as the start of dialogue and negotiations with the Islamists i
Transitional leaders in Mali continue to make progress toward restoring more representative rule to the West African nation, naming a cabinet for a new government of national unity. After reaching out to political activists, members of civil society and others to serve in administrative posts, 31 officials were named to head ministries under interim President Dioncounda Traore and Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.

The diverse group is largely representative of Malian society, which should have a calming effect on the nation’s roiled politics. Moving Mali away from the military rule imposed after the March 22 coup that split the nation is essential to restoring stability and addressing the insurgency now controlling many areas of the country’s North.

The United States welcomes formation of the new government following a process that was both inclusive and broad-based. We look forward to its continued work toward restoring democratic rule. With administrative structures now in place, humanitarian aid to Malian refugees and the internally displaced will continue as before. The ability of the United States to resume other kinds of aid to Mali, including development and security assistance, will depend on a democratically elected government.

We remain concerned, however, about the continued interference of the military in the interim government, especially the possibility that the man who lead the coup that toppled the previous government, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, may retain power with a high level position. Such an appointment to one who has been accused of grave human rights abuses would serve only to undermine the legitimacy of the transition government and could be destabilizing.