Interim President Expected Soon as Junta Also Promises to Step Down
by Jason Ditz
Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure issued a formal letter of resignation Sunday from his undisclosed hiding place, weeks after being deposed in a military coup.
The move is significant, coming just one day after the military junta had reiterated its intention to hand power to an interim civilian government within the next few days. Toure’s resignation would allow for a new interim president.
Toure’s government was ousted in a coup on March 21 by soldiers unhappy with the failing effort to crush a secessionist movement in the north. Since the junta took over, the Tuareg secessionists have conquered more than half of the country and declared an independent state called Azawad. The rebels, trained by Libya’s Gadhafi regime and flush with weapons from his stockpiles after its overthrow, made quick work of taking northern cities.
Mali’s neighbors condemned the coup and imposed massive sanctions on the junta, which has forced them to agree to quickly transfer power. Its unclear what, if anything, the junta or a new civilian president intend to do about Azawad, as most of the international community has rejected Tuareg independence. It seems unlikely Mali has the ability to reconquer the desert north after being run out by the rebels.