UN chief urges Mali's leaders 'not to go backwards' in election row

accreditation
UN chief Antonio Guterres. (Seth Wenig, AP)
UN chief Antonio Guterres. (Seth Wenig, AP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken by phone with Mali's leaders to urge them "not to go backwards" following contentious elections in the strife-torn West African country, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

Official results showed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was re-elected in the runoff held Sunday, but opposition challenger Soumaila Cisse rejected the outcome and vowed to appeal to the constitutional court.

During separate phone calls with Keita and Cisse on Wednesday, Guterres "underlined the need to always keep the Malian people first, and not to go backwards on the reconciliation effort at a crucial moment," said UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.

"He underlined that the elections happened and that it is of utmost importance for disputes to be resolved by legal means and political dialogue."

Guterres said his envoy for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif of Chad, was ready to mediate in the election dispute.

Mali has been struggling to return to stability after Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda jihadists took control of the north of the country in early 2012, prompting France to intervene militarily to drive them out.

A peace deal between the government and armed groups was signed in 2015, but implementation has been slow and attacks have continued in the center and north of the country.

The United Nations has deployed about 12,000 troops and police in its MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali, which ranks as the most dangerous for blue helmets.

Keita, 73, picked up 67.17% of the vote against 32.83% for Cisse, a 68-year-old former finance minister who also ran against Keita in 2013. Turnout was low, at 34.5%.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Should pension fund members be allowed to access their savings before retirement?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's their money to do with as they please.
34% - 1158 votes
No, more people will end up without enough savings in retirement.
37% - 1233 votes
Depends on how big the withdrawal limits will be.
29% - 973 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.38
-0.4%
Rand - Pound
19.97
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.02
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.61
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.1%
Gold
1,812.19
+0.1%
Silver
25.40
-0.5%
Palladium
2,668.46
+0.6%
Platinum
1,028.00
-2.4%
Brent Crude
72.41
-0.7%
Top 40
62,750
+0.3%
All Share
68,898
+0.3%
Resource 10
71,750
+0.8%
Industrial 25
86,237
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,095
-0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE