Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional regime following last month’s coup, vowed after being sworn in on Friday to hand over power within an agreed timeframe and honour international agreements.
In a speech, Ndaw said he would strive for “a stable, calm and successful transition, in the agreed conditions and timeframe.”
According to a roadmap to civilian rule endorsed by the military junta which seized power on August 18, Ndaw will rule for a maximum of 18 months before staging elections.
“Mali has given me everything. I am happy to be its submissive slave, willing to do everything for it to return to full constitutional legality, with elected authorities, legitimate representatives,” he declared.
The 70-year-old retired colonel and former defence minister also promised to uphold Mali’s international commitments. “The transition period which begins will not dispute any international undertaking by Mali, nor the agreements signed by the government,” Ndaw said.
He also promised to continue a “merciless war” against “terrorist forces and organised crime” and called for a moment of silence to honour fallen troops — Malians, French and UN. Mali, supported by France and UN peacekeepers, is struggling with an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.