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Mali approves new caretaker government

Mali’s head of state has named a new government to restore democracy after a damaging coup by a disgruntled military. The administration includes members of a previous government that failed to organize new elections.

epa02792849 Cheik Modibo Diarra, chairman of Microsoft Africa attends a press conference to present the George Arthur Forrest foundation, in Brussels, Belgium, 24 June 2011. The foundation wants to contribute to a good economic, social and political government in Africa. EPA/NICOLAS MAETERLINCK ***BELGIUM OUT*** +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Mali Ministerpräsident Scheich Modibo Diarra

Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore approved a new caretaker government on Monday after the country's previous transitional authority broke down without successfully setting up elections.

"The president of the republic, after receiving proposals from the prime minister, decrees the list of members of government," a presidential statement said on state radio.

The new 31-member government is intended to be more inclusive than the previous authority, of which some members are still included. Holders of five posts were chosen by military leaders.

Cheick Modibo Diarra is to remain as prime minister, state television reported Monday night.

Malian soldiers in Bamako

Malian soldiers were thrown into disarray by a coup in the north of the country

Both Diarra and the president were appolinted in April in an effort to bring the country back from the brink after a coup by soldiers that saw then-president Amadou Toumani Toure driven from power.

The power vacuum was seized upon by Tuareg separatists who took control of the north of the country, only to be usurped by Islamist militias who gained the upper hand there.

Diarra, who is a 59-year-old former NASA employee and board member of Microsoft Africa, has said he would like to run as a presidential candidate. Traore, 70, is the former speaker of parliament.

The country has been offered help in ousting the Islamists and forming a stable government by the regional West African bloc ECOWAS, which has said it would make available 3,000 troops.

rc / lw (AP, dpa, Reuters)