By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Mali’s transitional president Bah N’daw, has appointed former Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moctar Ouane, as the new Prime Minister of the West-African country.
The appointment on Sunday of a civilian premier was a precondition to the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by ECOWAS – the West African regional bloc - shortly after the 18 August coup which overthrew former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
ECOWAS had stopped financial flows into Mali and closed its borders in a bid to pressure the military junta that seized power to quickly return the country to civilian rule. The bloc is also seeking the release of all the detainees from last month’s coup.
The country’s transitional President and vice-President were sworn into office on Friday, a little over a month after the coup.
Bah N’Daw - the new President - is a retired colonel and was Mali’s former Defense Minister, while Colonel Assimi Goita, head of the junta that staged the August coup, is the new vice-President.
The new Prime Minister, aged 64, served as Foreign Minister between 2004 and 2011 during the presidency of Amadou Toumani Toure. He also served as Mali’s permanent representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and later as a diplomatic adviser to ECOWAS.