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Mali President Resigns To Pave Way For Power Transition

Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure has formally resigned as part of a power transition agreement between the country's coup leaders and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

International mediator and Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole told reporters after meeting with Toure in Mali's capital Bamako on Sunday that the President, who was ousted in a military coup last month, submitted a letter of resignation.

In an accord it signed on Friday with ECOWAS, the junta agreed to return power to the civilian government in exchange for lifting sanctions against it.

The regional bloc lifted sanctions it imposed on Mali after the coup and an amnesty has been agreed for the coup leaders, who can step aside without fear of prosecution.

ECOWAS had imposed diplomatic as well as trade and financial sanctions on the country after the new military rulers ignored an April-2 deadline to return power to its democratically-elected government. Subsequently, the African Union (AU) also imposed similar sanctions on Mali. The U.S. State Department imposed travel ban on the country's coup supporters.

Under the Framework Agreement, a transitional administration headed by Parliament Speaker Dioncounda Traore will run the country until presidential elections are held.

Traore, who has been in neighboring Burkina Faso since the coup was staged, has 40 days to conduct the election after swearing in as the West African country's interim President.

Rebel military officials, led by Captain Amadou Sanogo, took control of the country on March 21, and announced the dissolution of the government led by Toure. The coup was triggered by dissatisfaction among a large section of the military over the government's failure to address their demands for better supplies and arms to tackle the Tuareg uprising.

Since the coup, Tuareg rebels had captured large areas of the Sahara region in the country's north, and declared independence for a region they call 'Azawad.'

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the continued efforts by ECOWAS to facilitate restoration of constitutional order in Mali, and called on the junta to immediately implement the agreement.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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