Mali Asks ECOWAS To Lift Sanctions

Mali’s new vice president, Colonel Assimi Goita, has called on the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift economic sanctions imposed in the wake of last month’s coup.

The 15-member had demanded that the military junta National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) which overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta handover to a civilian to oversee the country’s transition to democratic rule in 18 months.

On Monday, the military junta announced a former defense minister, Colonel Bah N’daw (retd) – also written as N’daou – as the West African country interim president.

It also made Col Goita, who led the military junta after the coup, as vice-president of the transitional government.

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The duo will be sworn-in on Friday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Mali’s 60th anniversary of its independence from France, Colonel Goita also urged support for French and UN troops in the West African country.

Their presence in Mali – to help in the fight against jihadists – has often stoked controversy in the country.

The newly appointed transitional president, N’Daou, joined the military when he was in his 20s in the mid-1970s. He started as a Soviet-trained helicopter pilot and rose through the ranks of the military to become air force chief of staff. As an officer, he attended the elite Ecole de Guerre war college in France.

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N’Daou also served as an aide to Moussa Traore, Mali’s military leader from 1968 to 1991.

N’Daou recently headed the air force and defense ministry under the Keita government in 2014. The retired colonel is referred to as “le Grand” due to his height — 1.95 meters (6.40 feet).

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