US envisions return of Mali aid after polls
13 August 2013, 16:26
Washington - The United States signalled on Monday that it
was prepared to resume aid to Mali following a presidential election that paved
the way for the return of a democratically elected government.
Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson at the State Department,
hailed the strife-torn country's interim government for "securing a
peaceful and orderly environment in which Malians were able to vote".
Former Malian finance minister Soumaila Cisse has conceded
defeat against ex-prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The vote was aimed at providing a fresh start for the west
African nation following more than a year of political turmoil, including a
military coup and war.
While urging patience in the formal ballot-counting process
in the run-off between the top two contenders, Harf suggested that a resumption
of US aid was likely.
"We've made clear that following the return of a
democratically elected government, we will seek to normalise our foreign
assistance to Mali," she told reporters in Washington.
"These programmes will be reviewed and revised to
assess the security and development needs in the light of the new
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.
The coup ignited an Islamist insurgency that seized power in
the north before being driven out by a French military intervention.
Mali's government has until Friday to make public the result
of the run-off, called after none of the 27 candidates secured an outright
majority in the first round, held 28 July.
The United States was legally forced to suspend military aid
to Mali after the coup in March last year.