The arrest of Mali's Prime Minister by members of the country's armed forces, which led to his resignation and the dismissal of the Government, has prompted condemnation by the United Nations Security Council and a call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for an end to military interference in politics.
Mr. Ban is "troubled" by the circumstances leading to the resignation of Cheick Modibo Diarra, his spokesperson said in a statement, adding that "the Secretary-General calls again for a cessation of military interference in politics and urges the Malian leadership to resolve any issues through peaceful means."
Soldiers reportedly arrested Mr. Diarra at his residence in the capital, Bamako, last night - the latest development in the ongoing crisis in the West African nation, which has been dealing with a range of security, political and humanitarian problems since the start of the year.
Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the country's north in January, following which radical Islamists have seized control of the area. The renewed clashes in the north, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d'état in March have uprooted hundreds of thousands of civilians this year.
"These latest developments underscore the importance of sustained national and international efforts to address the political crisis in Bamako," Mr. Ban's spokesperson stated.
The Security Council condemned the arrest in a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki of Morocco, which holds the Council's presidency for December. It also expressed its readiness "to consider appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions, against those who prevent the restoration of the constitutional order and take actions that undermine stability in Mali."
Both the Council and the Secretary-General called on the Interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, to move swiftly to form a broad-based inclusive government.
In addition, the Council urged the transitional authorities of Mali to expedite the establishment of a transitional roadmap, through broad-based and inclusive political dialogue, to fully restore constitutional order and national unity, including through the holding of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections as soon as possible.
The Council also stressed its commitment to authorizing as soon as possible the deployment of the African-led so-called International Support Mission in Mali. UN military and police planners have worked closely with the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, in consultation with Malian authorities, in developing a framework for the proposed force.