A civilian prime minister was the prerequisite for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift the sanctions it imposed two days after the August 18 coup to dismiss President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who the military government said claimed no casualties.
A seasoned diplomat, Ouane, 64, was Mali’s Ambassador to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2009 under the chairmanship of Amadou Toumani Touré.
Ndaw himself is a former colonel and defense minister, and was sworn in before the Supreme Court of Mali on Friday with the head of the military government Assimi Goita as deputy.
The military government has promised to return the country to civilian rule after a transition period of up to 18 months.
Members of Ouane’s government will be revealed on Tuesday, an army officer told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
Ouane has been the peace and security representative for the West African Monetary Union (UMOA) since 2016.
He is from Bidi, in central Mali, the region most affected by attacks by armed groups and inter-ethnic violence that has ravaged the country for years.
Prior to the coup, former President Keita had faced months of protests over his failure to end the violence or pull the country out of a dire economic and institutional crisis.
Lifting of sanctions
ECOWAS said on Friday that it would only lift its sanctions against Mali “when a civilian prime minister is appointed”.
Speaking from Dakar, Nicolas Haque of Al Jazeera said Ouane was the first civilian to hold a leadership position, which makes him “the key to the success of this government in transition in the eyes of the international community and West African heads of state who imposed it. sanctions which paralyze the economy ”.
Haque said Ouane should respond to the many grievances in Mali.
“Concretely, this means reopening schools, paying teachers, ensuring that there is enough money in the state coffers for hospitals to be able to function again, that there is ‘electricity and water where the state has so often been absent,’ Haque said.
While security and defense will remain the responsibility of the president and vice-president, “getting the state back on track will be in the hands of this new prime minister,” he added.
Fearing a lasting takeover by the military, ECOWAS also demanded that the vice-president not be allowed to replace the president under any circumstances.
He also called for the release of those arrested since the coup, including former Prime Minister Boubou Cissé.
Acting President Ndaw tried to reassure ECOWAS during his swearing-in ceremony on Friday, expressing “the determination of Malians to carry out a stable, peaceful and successful transition under the agreed conditions and schedule.”
“I will never be happier than when handing over to the future elected president, unquestionably elected and properly elected,” he added, asserting that a transition plan drawn up in three days of discussions this month would be his “prayer book”.
So far, the exact contents of the plan have not been made public.