Mali - Coup

Mali junta leader sworn in as interim president

Western embassies will be listening closely to what Goita has to say at his investiture speech
Western embassies will be listening closely to what Goita has to say at his investiture speech MALIK KONATE AFP/File

Mali's Colonel Assimi Goita, following his second coup in nine months, was sworn into office on Monday as transitional president despite international condemnation of the power grab.

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Following international pressure, the government installed after Goita's first coup last August pledged to reform the constitution by October, and stage elections by February 2022.

Now that Goita has brushed aside this first transitional administration to seize power again, Western diplomats will be listening carefully for confirmation that this is still the timetable in a country whose stability is crucial for the wider region.

According to one diplomat, who asked not to be identified: "It will be the moment for him to reassure and to solemnly make clear commitments on how the remaining eight months of the transition will go."

Delicate diplomacy

The ambassadors themselves have stayed away from the investiture ceremony, the diplomat said.

Instead, they sent more junior envoys to the event.

While that will be "neither a boycott nor a sanction", it will send "a political signal", the diplomat added.

The ceremony took place at the International Conference Centre in Bamako at 10 am (10h00 UT).

Mali is key to the stability of the Sahel region, and Western powers want to see a return to stable, civilian rule as soon as possible.

For the moment, however, Goita and his fellow colonels are in charge.

Goita dismissed the civilian president and prime minister of the transitional administration on 24 May, leading former colonial power France to suspend its cooperation with the military -- and for the African Union to suspend Mali's membership.

France and Mali's other partners want assurances that a civilian administration will be back in power come February 2022.

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