MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. The restoration of civilian rule in Mali must happen as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a news release on the occasion of Mali’s Independence Day.
This year Mali celebrates the 60th anniversary of sovereignty.
"We know that in the wake of the recent forcible change of power Mali is living through no easy times," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "We hope for the country’s fastest return to civilian rule on the basis of an inclusive national dialogue with the aim of holding, after a brief transitional period, free and democratic elections with assistance from the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union."
The Foreign Ministry recalled that the Soviet Union and later Russia had taken an active part in helping Mali to gain independence and statehood and provided tangible assistance to implementing major economic projects, building civilian infrastructure, conducting geological exploration and ameliorating farmland. "The tangible experience accumulated over this period is a good basis for going ahead with purposeful work to step up mutually beneficial cooperation in various spheres. We are certain that friendly Russian-Malian ties will be developing fruitfully in the interests of the peoples of both countries," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Mali saw a military coup on August 18, which began with a mutiny at military base Kati near Bamako. The military seized the General Staff, arrested the country’s top officials, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and formed the National Committee for the Salvation of the People. Keita declared his resignation and dissolution of the government and parliament. On September 21, Mali’s former defense minister, Ba Ndaw, was named interim president.