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U.N.'s Ban pledges support for Mali

Aug. 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations is ready to support the new Malian government during the next phase of stabilization, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was pleased Mali was able to hold two successful rounds of a presidential election on July 28 and Aug. 11.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took 39.2 percent of the July 28 votes, besting the 19.4 percent from his closest rival, former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse. Ban said Thursday he took note of provisional results showing Keita cleared the majority needed to secure a victory in the Sunday contest.

Ban's office said the United Nations remains committed to working with Mali as it charts a new course following a 2012 coup and a siege from al-Qaida and nomadic fighters, who took control over parts of the country.

"The United Nations also stands ready to support the re-establishment of State authority in the north of Mali, the protection of human rights and the implementation of key reforms that will lay the foundation for sustainable peace, stability and development to the benefit of all the Malian people," the statement read.

The interim Malian administration called on French forces in January to help take on militants in the north. Keita campaigned against the help from the former colonial power, saying it was a national embarrassment.

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