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Mali’s premier resigns after arrest by junta

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 11, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.

— Soldiers arrested Mali’s prime minister and ordered him to resign because he “doesn’t get along” with the army captain who led a coup in March in the African nation, a spokesman for the military junta said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra, dressed in a dark suit and his forehead glistening with sweat, went on TV at 4 a.m. to announce his resignation.

“Our country is living through a period of crisis. Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation are hoping for peace,” he said. “It’s for this reason that I, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government on this day, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. I apologize before the entire population of Mali.”

Despite the events, planning for a European Union military training mission aimed at ousting Islamist insurgents who have seized northern Mali will proceed, said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

He added that the EU is watching the situation closely and hopes for the quick appointment of a new prime minister, leading to credible elections and the restoration of constitutional rule.

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