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Top Diplomat Appointed as Mali’s New Prime Minister

Mali’s interim President Bah Ndaw has named former Malian Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane as prime minister. The appointment on Sunday opens the way for the country’s neighbours to lift sanctions imposed after its August military coup. A civilian premier was the precondition for the Economic Community of West African States to lift sanctions it imposed two days after the August 18 coup removing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which the military government claimed inflicted no casualties. A veteran diplomat, Ouane, 64, served as Mali’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1995-2002, and as foreign minister from 2004-2009 during Amadou Toumani Toure’s presidency. Ndaw himself is a former colonel and defence minister, and was sworn in before Mali’s Supreme Court on Friday with military government Chief Assimi Goita as his deputy. The military government promised to return the country to civilian rule after a transition period lasting up to 18 months. Ouane has served as peace and security representative for the West African Monetary Union since 2016. He is originally from Bidi in central Mali, the region most affected by armed groups’ attacks and inter-ethnic violence that have racked the country for years.