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Mali Interim President, PM Meet


FILE: Mali's transitional Prime Minister Choguel Maiga addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 25, 2021

Mali's transitional Prime Minister Choguel Maiga met interim President Assimi Goita on Friday after more than three months of forced medical leave, the presidency said.

"After a medical retreat of several months... Colonel Assimi Goita, head of state, received Dr Choguel Kokala Maiga... this Friday," the presidency said on Twitter.

The tweet was accompanied by photos of Maiga, dressed in a traditional robe, smiling and chatting to Goita.

"I have come to salute and thank [Goita], to tell him that I am well and that I can resume work. In a few days he will grant me the authorization," Maiga told reporters after the meeting.

Maiga was ordered by his doctor to rest in August after months of intense exertion.

Paris-based Jeune Afrique magazine reported at the time that Maiga had suffered a stroke, citing sources close to him. But an adviser to Maiga, reached by Reuters, denied this.

Maiga had been one of the government's most outspoken voices in repeated public rows with West African neighbors and international allies who criticized its military cooperation with Russian mercenaries and repeated election delays.

He was temporarily replaced by Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, government spokesman and minister of territorial administration.

Mali is governed by a military junta that came to power in an August 2020 coup and has promised to organize elections in 2024.

Foreign nations, including France, Germany, and the UK have announced plans to remove their troops from Mali, which has turned to the Russian-owned Wgner Group mercenaries for firepower and support.

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