West African regional bloc lifts sanctions against Mali

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS lifted sanctions against Mali on Tuesday after the prime minister announced the rest of the transitional government positions nearly two months after a military coup.

In a communique, the regional heads of state cited “significant advances” toward a return to democracy in Mali, noting the selection of a civilian president and prime minister to head the process.

ECOWAS also called on the transitional authorities to release all remaining detainees arrested since the Aug. 18 coup, when democratically elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign after the junta surrounded his home and fired shots into the air.

The regional bloc had insisted that the transitional government be headed by civilians, though junta leader Col. Assimi Goita is staying on as vice president.

On Monday, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane announced the government of 25 ministers, four of them military officials. Those positions are the ministries of defense, security, territorial administration and national reconciliation.

Armed movements from the north that signed the 2015 peace agreement have entered the government for the first time with two ministerial portfolios.

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