US congratulates Mali's Keita on poll win
21 August 2013, 13:45
Washington - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday
congratulated Mali's new leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on his election victory
and vowed to work with him as the country emerges from months of conflict.
"We encourage the candidates and their supporters to
accept the results, and to use this election as a foundation for further
progress on democracy, national reconciliation, and addressing the security and
humanitarian crises in the north," Obama said in a statement.
"The United States stands with the people and
government of Mali as they work to advance peace and stability in Mali and the
Mali's constitutional court had earlier confirmed Keita's
landslide victory in the 11 August presidential run-off.
His rival, former finance minister Soumaila Cisse, said
during the election that polls had been marred by fraud but vowed to make no
official complaint to the court after conceding defeat in the interests of
helping to reunite the conflict-scarred country.
Keita, 68, a former prime minister and a veteran of the
political scene in Bamako, takes office on 4 September and is charged with
leading the west African nation out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a
Army officers angry at the level of support they had
received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north overthrew the
democratically-elected government of president Amadou Toumani Toure on 22 March
Return to democracy
In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an
area larger than France before being ousted by al-Qaeda-linked groups who
imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population,
carrying out amputations and executions.
The return to democracy has allowed France to begin
withdrawing 4 500 troops it sent in January to oust the Islamists.
Secretary of State John Kerry commended the interim
government for securing elections that were peaceful, inclusive and orderly.
"The transparent and credible manner in which the
election was conducted honours Mali's democratic tradition, and reflects the
progress that Mali has made over the past 18 months," he said in a
But, he added, "to ensure the best possibility of consolidating
this progress, Mali's new government must address the country's most pressing
challenges, including national reconciliation and security sector reform, which
is why we particularly emphasize the importance of Malian civilian control and
oversight of the military".
The election, the first since 2007, was seen as crucial for unlocking
more than $4bn in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions
in the wake of last year's coup.