Pretoria: South Africa has congratulated Ibrahim Keita Boubarka, widely known as IBK, on his election as president of Mali, pledging close cooperation with the new government and better bilateral relations.
“The successful conclusion of the election process demonstrated the determination of the Malian people for the re-establishment of constitutional order and democracy.
“South Africa will continue to engage the Government of Mali and its people in order to further strengthen bilateral ties and assist Mali as it emerges from the recent situation of conflict,” said President Jacob Zuma in a statement on Saturday.
Monitored by more than 100 observers from the European Union, the election was seen as an important step in restoring order to the West African nation gripped by a political crisis.
Since early 2012, Mali has witnessed a military coup d’etat, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists.
International operations against the rebel movements began in January 2013, and the United Nations Security Council authorised the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
Keita, who won the election with 77.61 percent of the run-off votes, faces a daunting new job including peace talks with northern rebels, reform of the army and economic recovery to bring back to normal this West African country tortured by nearly two years of political-military turmoil and economic recession.