Presidential election "a major step" to recovery for Mali: UN Security Council

UN Security Council on Friday praised Mali for peaceful presidential election, calling it "a major step toward the restoration of democratic governance and constitutional order" in the country.

Updated: Aug 17, 2013, 19:44 PM IST

Beijing: UN Security Council on Friday praised Mali for peaceful presidential election, calling it "a major step toward the restoration of democratic governance and constitutional order" in the country.

Argentine ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, who holds this month``s presidency of the Security Council, read a statement here to the press and praised the Malian people for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.

"The members of the Security Council commend the transitional authorities of Mali for the successful preparation, organisation and management of the elections," she said.

"They also welcome the efforts of domestic and international observers and bilateral and international partners to support the electoral process," Perceval said, calling upon the international community to continue to support Malian people towards "achieving lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in Mali and the development of the country."

In addition, the ambassador stressed the importance of "Malian civilian control and oversight of the military."

Mali`s second round of the presidential race between former prime minister Ibrahim Boubarka Keita and his major rival former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse ended on Sunday. According to provisional results announced Thursday, Keita, who is also the former president of the National Assembly (parliament), has been elected president of the country.

Monitored by over 100 observers from the EU, the election is seen as an important step to impose order in the West African nation which has been gripped by a military coup d`tat, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists since early 2012.

In the statement, the most powerful body of the UN reiterated its call on all signatories of the Ouagadougou Agreement to "fully implement its provisions," with the goal of "securing a durable political resolution to the crisis and long-term peace and stability throughout the country," Perceval said.

"The members of the Security Council also call for the swift holding of free, fair, transparent, and inclusive legislative elections," she said. "In this regard they stress the importance of the national dialogue and reconciliation process."

Peace talks with Tuareg rebels in the north of the country must start within 60 days after Keita takes office, according to the preliminary cease-fire deal signed in June in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Under the deal, the rebels ceased fire to let presidential election be conducted and the new authorities must negotiate on the administrative status of Azawad, the name that rebels give to the north of Mali, and strategies for its development.

ANI