Mali

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Overview
<p>Mali is located in West Africa and encompasses both the Sahara Desert in the north and arable plains in the south. The Niger River enriches the soil nearby, allowing Mali&rsquo;s agricultural sector to flourish. The area has been ruled by a succession of African kingdoms, including the Ghana, Malink&eacute;, and Songhai, until being colonized by the French in 1880s. Calling the region the Soudan, the French appointed a civilian governor in Mali and enriched themselves with the country&rsquo;s natural resources. But in 1956, the French passed a law that gave Mali control over many of the country&rsquo;s own internal affairs. A brief federation with Senegal followed, and in 1960, a nationalist movement soon began. This led to independence, and the election of Modibo Keita as Mali&rsquo;s first president. Since then, the country has moved from extreme nationalization to a more centrist democratic government. Retired General Amadou Toumani Toure became the country&rsquo;s second democratically elected president in 2002, and he was re-elected to a second five-year term in 2007.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Relations between Mali and the United States have been overshadowed by several controversies. In October 2006, Malian farmers blamed the US government, and its policy of awarding billions of tax dollars to American cotton producers, for pushing them into greater debt. A year earlier, a human rights group sued three US companies in federal court in Los Angeles to end child labor involving Malian children on African farms producing cocoa beans and chocolate products. More recently, drug trafficking from South America to Mali has put the US government on alert, especially for drug smuggling that might profit terrorist groups.</p>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Mali is landlocked in central West Africa.&nbsp;Sandstone plateaus, edged by sharp cliffs, interrupt the generally level terrain.&nbsp;The Sahara desert in the north gives way to arable land in the south.&nbsp;The lifeblood of the country is the Niger River, which (hopefully) floods over every year to enrich the nearby soil.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 12.3 million</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Muslim (Sunni) 80.6%, Ethnoreligious 16.2%, Christian 3.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Mande (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke) 50%, Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, Songhai 6%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Bamanakan 22.5%, Senoufo language cluster (e.g. Mamara, Supyire, Syenara) 10.3%, Maasina Fulfulde 7.6%, Maninkakan (Kita, Western) 5.8%, Soninke 5.8%, Songhay (Koyra Chiini, Koyraboro Senni) 5.0%, Dogon language cluster (e.g. Donno So, Jamsay, Tene Kan, Tomo Kan...) 4.5%, Bozo language cluster (e.g. Hainyaxo, Jenaama, Ti&egrave;ma Ci&egrave;w&egrave;, Ti&egrave;yaxo) 2.8%, French 0.001%.&nbsp;There are 50 living languages in Mali.</div>
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History
<p>From the beginning of civilization in Mali, the country has been ruled by a succession of ancient African empires&mdash;Ghana, Malink&eacute;, and Songhai&mdash;that occupied the West African savannah. These ancient empires traded with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people.&nbsp;</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke or Saracol&eacute; people and centered in the area along the Mali-Mauritania frontier, became a popular trading state from about 700 to 1075. In the 11th century, the Malinke Kingdom originated on the upper Niger River. This kingdom expanded rapidly in the 13th century, under the leadership of Soundiata Keita, achieving its greatest success in 1325, when it conquered Timbuktu and Gao. Shortly afterwards, the kingdom began to decline, and by the 15th century, much of its former domain was lost.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Songhai Empire expanded its power from its center in Gao during the period 1465-1530. At its peak under Askia Mohammad I, it encompassed the Hausa states as far as Kano (in present-day Nigeria) and much of the territory that had belonged to the Mali Empire in the west. It was destroyed by a Moroccan invasion in 1591.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Around 1880, the French military began to occupy the Soudan. Within 10 years, they had reached the interior of the country and appointed a civilian governor in 1898, when the Malinke warrior Samory Tour&eacute; was defeated. The French preferred to rule indirectly, but often governed through appointed chiefs.&nbsp;As the colony of French Soudan, Mali was administered with other French colonial territories as the Federation of French West Africa.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1956, France passed the Fundamental Law, or Loi Cadre, allowing the Territorial Assembly to have extensive powers over their own internal affairs.&nbsp;They could form a cabinet with executive authority over their own matters. In 1958, after the French constitutional referendum, the <i>Republique Soudanaise</i> became a member of the French Community, with complete internal authority.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1959, Soudan joined Senegal to form the Mali Federation. This became independent within the French Community on June 20, 1960. However, the federation collapsed on August 20, 1960, when Senegal seceded. On September 22, Soudan proclaimed itself the Republic of Mali and withdrew from the French Community.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>President Modibo Keita soon decaled a single-party state and moved to pursue a socialist policy based on extensive nationalization. However, these moves contributed to a rapidly deteriorating economy and forced the decision to rejoin the Franc Zone in 1967.</div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <div>On November 19, 1968, several young officers staged a bloodless coup and set up a 14-member Military Committee for National Liberation (CMLN), with Lt. Moussa Traore as president. Their main course of action was to pursue economic reforms. But for several years, they faced major political struggles and a disastrous Sahelian drought.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1974, Mali approved a new constitution that maintained a one-party state and moved Mali toward civilian rule. Military leaders remained in power, and in September 1976, a new political party was established&mdash;the Democratic Union of the Malian People (UDPM)&mdash;to advance the concept of democratic centralism. In June 1979, presidential and legislative elections were held, with General Moussa Traore receiving 99% of the vote. In 1980, a student-led coalition held anti-government protests and tried to challenge the single-party government. The demonstrations were put down with violence, as were three separate coup attempts on Traore&rsquo;s government.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During 1981 and 1982, Mali&rsquo;s political situation stabilized. The UDPM government began to attend to the country&rsquo;s economic problems and approved a plan to provide for marketing liberalization, reform in the state enterprise system, and new incentives to private enterprise. Mali reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but by 1990, many in the country grew tired of the austere measures and the growing perception that the president and his associates did not adhere to them personally.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Over time, demands for a multi-party democracy increased. The Traore government allowed some changes and established an independent press, along with free political association, while insisting that the country was not ready for democracy. In 1991, student-led rioting broke out again, but the government supported these efforts. On March 26, 1991, after four days of fighting, a group of 17 military officers arrested President Traore and suspended the constitution. A few days later, these officers joined with the Coordinating Committee of Democratic Associations to form a predominantly civilian, 25-member ruling body&mdash;the Transitional Committee for the Salvation of the People (CTSP).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The CTSP appointed a civilian-led government and held a conference in August 1991 to produce a draft constitution, a charter for political parties, and an electoral code. On January 12, 1992, this new constitution was approved by referendum. New political parties were formed, and between January and April 1992, a president, National Assembly, and municipal councils were elected. On June 8, 1992, Alpha Oumar Konare, the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA), was inaugurated as the president of Mali&rsquo;s Third Republic.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1997, Mali attempted to renew national institutions through democratic elections. But administrative difficulties resulted in the April election results being annulled. President Konare&rsquo;s ADEMA party flexed its political muscle in subsequent elections, which many opponents boycotted.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In June-July 2002, new elections were held. But President Konare did not seek reelection due to term limits established under the constitution. Retired General Amadou Toumani Tour&eacute;, former head of state during Mali&rsquo;s transition from 1991-1992, became the country&rsquo;s second democratically elected president as an independent candidate. Tour&eacute; was reelected to a second five-year term in 2007.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>In 2009, Tour&eacute; began preparing citizens for constitutional change in an upcoming referendum, which would better define and reform the government's and the judiciary's powers. Additionally, the government announced that some 30 laws and regulations are in need of amendments or complete change. This includes the press code, and loosening restrictions on journalists.</span><span>It also increases the powers of the opposition and the constitutional court.</span><span>According to the Malian presidency, the reform package will be reviewed by President Tour&eacute;, after which it will be presented to the Bamako parliament for approval. After that, Mr Tour&eacute; said he intends to organize a popular referendum by the end of 2010.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Mali</font></a> (Wikipedia)</div> <div><a href="http://www.everyculture.com/Ja-Ma/Mali.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Culture of Mali</font></a> (EveryCulture.com)</div> <div><a href="http://www.historyofnations.net/africa/mali.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Mali</font></a> (History of Nations)</div> <div><a href="http://www.timbuktufoundation.org/history.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Timbuktu</font></a>&nbsp;(Timbuktu Educational Foundation)</div> <div><a href="http://webusers.xula.edu/jrotondo/Kingdoms/Mali/MaliHistNarr.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali</font></a> (Xavier University of Louisiana)</div>
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Mali's Newspapers
<p><a href="http://www.mediamali.org/presse-ecrite-et-agences"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali&rsquo;s Newspapers</font></a></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.afribone.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Afriborne</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cefib.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Cefib</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.essor.gov.ml/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">L&rsquo;Essor</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.info-matin.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Info-Matin</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.malikounda.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Malikounda</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cefib.com/presse/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Presse</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Mali
<p>Economic assistance from the US to Mali originated in 1961 and was controlled by a bilateral mission until 1968. US assistance was limited at first. USAID&rsquo;s strategy was aimed at moderating the socialist leanings of the Mali government through bilateral and regional programs and encouraging cooperative efforts between adjacent states and other Western donors. Three areas of focus were food production, education and training, and rural infrastructure. <br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <div>Economic assistance to Mali was managed by the USAID regional office in Dakar from 1968 to 1974. The US contributed large quantities of emergency food assistance to Mali, as well as undertaking relief and rehabilitation activities during the Sahel drought years of 1973-75. Due to problems from trying to control the USAID program from outside the country, a Country Development Office (CDO) was created in 1974. <br /> <br /> A fundamental change in US foreign aid policy was legislated by Congress in 1973. According to the New Directions Mandate, USAID was to concentrate on helping the rural poor rather than on providing general assistance directed at augmenting overall economic development.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>USAID completed an evaluation of the long-term development plan in the Sahel in 1984. As a result, the program started to break down the range of activities under the Sahel Development Program and seceded from sectors where qualification or direction ability had been restricted</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><a href="http://www.usaid.gov/ml/en/history.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Forty Years of USAID in Mali (1961-2000)</font></a> (by Chris Strickland and Boubacar Daou, USAID)</div> <div><a href="http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali</font></a> (Peace Corps Wiki)</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Mali
<p>Mali cooperates with the US in the fight against international terrorism. It also participates in testing of new malaria medication, and USAID, the Peace Corps, and other US government programs play a role in fostering sustainable economic and social development in the country.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>USAID also assists the Malian government in strengthening its efforts to produce peace in the northern part of the country and helps to integrate its soci<span>oeconomic and political integration. With encouragement from the US, Mali and three other Saharan countries set up a joint military base to combat terrorism linked to al-Qaeda. The command and control center, located in Tamanrasset, Algeria, will create a common database and allow for the countries to launch joint simultaneous operations. The US army has been pressing for better coordination among these countries and says that it will conduct large-scale training exercises with the military in Mali.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Several countries in West Africa, including Mali, have caught the attention of Washington for their coordination with drug-traffickers from South America. Drugs arriving in West Africa are eventually smuggled into European markets. Between 1998 and 2003, the annual cocaine seizures in Africa averaged about 0.6 tons, which represents a tiny proportion of the global seizure of cocaine. However, since 2004 there has been an upward trend in African seizures with 2.5 tons that year. In 2006 the figure was even bigger, with 2.8 and in 2007 there was a dramatic increase to more than 5.7 tons of cocaine seized. Ninety-nine percent of seizures were reported from Western African countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In one incident in November 2009, a Boeing plane arriving from Venezuela unloaded a cargo of drugs into Mali and then crashed after takeoff. As a response to this and similar incidences, a multitude of US government agencies that are coordinated by the African Command (AFRICOM), help provide equipment and training to various law-enforcement groups.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The United States has provided assistance to Mali in preserving early Timbuktu manuscripts as part of Mali&rsquo;s cultural heritage.</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In 2006, 14,222 Americans visited Mali, an increase of 46.2% from 2005. &nbsp;More Americans have visited every year since 2002, when 6,015 Americans traveled to Mali.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006, 2,669 Mali nationals visited the US, up from 1,688 in 2005. The number of visitors has fluctuated within the range of 1,500 to 3,000 per year, since 2002.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://westernfarmpress.com/news/11-30-05-West-Africa-Improvement-Program/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US launches West Africa Cotton Improvement Program</font></a> (by Forrest Laws, Western Farm Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/25/AR2005072501801_pf.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Pushes Anti-Terrorism in Africa</font></a> (by Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post)</div> <div><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/saharan-countries-bid-to-fight-terror-1950712.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Saharan Countries Bid to Fight Terror</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2010/04/22/4_saharan_countries_set_up_joint_military_base/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">4 Saharan Countries Set up Joint Military Base</font></a> (by Alfred de Montesquiou, Associated Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gW9XpB-RxuseuVxCct-Jv5MBI4Qw"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Three Arrested over Suspected Mali Drugs Plane</font></a> (Agence France-Presse)</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>From 2005 to 2009, US imports from Mali were dominated by <span>artwork, antiques, stamps and other collectibles, which increased from $294,000 to $1.42 million. Other imports on the rise included generators, transformers, and accessories, which moved up from $28,000 to $101,000; nonmonetary gold, increasing from $67,000 to $226,000; and semiconductors and related devices, rising from $39,000 to $242,000. </span></p> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>During the same period, US imports from Mali on the decline included<span>computer accessories (peripherals and parts), which fell from $290,000 to $12,000; telecommunication equipment, decreasing from $168,000&nbsp;to $89,000; scientific, medical and hospital equipment, decreasing from $59,000 to $0; and clocks, port typerwriters, and other household goods, down from $108,000 to $3,000. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>From 2005 to 2009, US exports to Mali included excavating machinery, which increased from $1.8 million to $6.1 million; agricultural industry (unmanufactured), moving up from $0 to $4.7 million; and plastic materials, rising from $2.4 million to $3.2 million.</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>During the same time, US exports on the decline included <span>specialized mining equipment, which decreased from $1.7 million to $24,000; telecommunications equipment, down from $3.5 million to $1.1 million; textiles and sewing machines, falling from $2.8 million to $491,000; and toiletries and cosmetics, decreasing from $5.0 million to $27,000. </span></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>Of the $102.7 million in US aid to Mali in 2009, $55.6 million went to Investing in People, $39.9 million went to Economic Growth, $6.7 million went to Administration and Oversight, and $4.3 million went to Peace and Security.&nbsp;The three largest single programs are Global Health and Child Survival (through USAID) with $33.7 million, Agriculture with $28.9&nbsp;million, and Education with $18.2 million.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The health of the Malian citizens is a priority of US spending, and specific programs include the President&rsquo;s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and US Assistance under Basic Education (PIEE/BE), as well as focusing on maternal and child health.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mali was included in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) program, which partners Saharan countries with US on efforts to fight the war on terror. The US seeks cooperation from the Malian government to monitor the country&rsquo;s porous borders, easily trespassed by terrorist groups, particularly focusing on the North. The TSCTP program targets at-risk youth by providing job skills and supporting income-generating activities.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In FY 2011, the US government will continue to support the construction of new radio stations, primarily in the North. The radio stations will help to broadcast and disseminate information, including counter-terrorism messages, voter education, women&rsquo;s empowerment, and health issues, among others. Presently, community radio stations reach 89% of the population, or 10.7 million people. Additional support from the US government will be geared toward increased training of journalists in news reporting, providing equipment, and including more substantive topics to media discussions.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government also sponsors the training of Malian military personnel through US professional military schools under the International Military and Education Training (IMET) Program. So far, the program has graduated 35 Malian officers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Under the Development Assistance program, the US supports Mali&rsquo;s decentralization framework that emphasizes local-level authority and financing. Through USAID, the program provides hands-on training to mayors, communal council members and civil society organizations so that they can design, plan, and manage the delivery of education, water, agriculture and health. USAID expects to expand the program from 82 to 150 communes in FY2011. In the future, the US also plans to support civic education campaigns, anti-corruption initiatives, and the advocacy of female leadership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government has also undertaken the advancement of Mali&rsquo;s education system. Part of US involvement is using the radio for national instruction to increase access and enhance literacy. Also, US funding will support decentralization of basic education.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government has focused much attention on the agricultural sector with the hope that increased funding and productivity will ensure economic growth. Several Malian committees and organizations will address regional trade issues, such as excessive custom fees, inadequate transportation corridors, and inefficient market structures. Additionally, more roads will be built to increase access to local and national markets. The US will also focus on implementing a food security plan that helps farmers at all stages of production including irrigation, soil fertility, storage and processing. The development of the poultry sector and the inclusion of women in the husbandry sector are also included in the budgeted expenses.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006 Mali signed a five-year $460 million deal with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to stimulate the economy and lessen poverty. Upon completion of feasibility studies in November 2007, the program was restructured to include the Alatona Irrigation Project, the Bamako-Senou International Airport project, as well as a monitoring and evaluation program. MCC investments hope to improve market access for local producers, strengthen value-added production, and increase primary sector productivity.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Imports from Mali</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Exports from Mali</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Trade in Goods (Imports, Exports and Trade Balance) with Mali</font></a> (US Census Bureau)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64680.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali: Security Assistance</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137937.pdf"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations</font></a> (pages 107-113) (pdf)</div> <div><a href="http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YAOI-6UY37G?OpenDocument"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Millennium Challenge Corporation approves $461 million for Mali</font></a> (ReliefWeb.int)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/55214.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Signs Open Skies Aviation Agreement with Mali</font></a> (US Department of State)</div> <div><a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/16/business/fi-wto16"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Trade Body Rules Against US on Cotton Subsidies</font></a> (Associated Press)</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>Malian Drug Runners Accused of Working with al-Qaeda</b></p> <div>In 2009, federal prosecutors in New York indicted three Malian men who they say had promised to transport drugs across the desert in league with al-Qaeda, which would serve as the security arm of the operation. It was the first prosecution linking the terrorist group to drug trafficking. The men were arrested in Ghana on a drug enforcement sting and were charged under narco-terrorism laws. There has been a sharp rise in cocaine trafficking in West Africa in the past few years, alarming European, African, and American officials. Investigators have linked drug profits from smuggling to terrorists seeking to use those profits in attacks on the West, specifically referencing the 2004 Madrid attacks where terrorists had been financed through drug deals. Officials said one of the men is caught on tape claiming that he regularly supplied extremist forces with gasoline and food.</div> <div><a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/19/nation/la-na-al-qaeda-cocaine19-2009dec19"><font color="#0000ff">US Prosecution Links Drugs to Terror</font></a> (by Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>US Attorney General Intervenes in Genital Mutilation Case</b></div> <div>In September 2008, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an immigration court to reconsider an African woman&rsquo;s case before deporting her to Mali, where she had been forced to undergo genital mutilation.&nbsp;Citing the possibility of future persecution (and possibly forced marriage) based on this mutilation, Mukasey sent the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals for reconsideration. The Justice Department admitted that it was extremely rare for an attorney general to intervene in a low-level immigration case, but the procedure has been linked to tissue damage, severe infection and fever, and possibly death.</div> <div><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/09/22/genital.mutiliation.immigrant/index.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">AG: Don&rsquo;t Deport Genital Mutilation Victim</font></a> (by Terry Frieden, CNN)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Tuareg Rebels Bring Down US Military Plane </b></div> <div>In September 2007, Tuareg rebels fired on a US military plane that was flying food supplies to Malian troops fighting them in the north of the country. The plane was able to return to the capital of Bamako, although it was unclear whether a serviceman was injured. The mission was code-named Operation Flintlock and aimed at countering terrorism and Islamic militancy in the region. While insurgents claim they have been oppressed, some in the Malian government have connected them with trafficking in arms and drugs.</div> <div><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1385883120070913?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=worldNews"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Plane Hit by Gunfire on Resupply Flight in Mali</font></a> (by Tiemoko Diallo, Reuters)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Malian Farmers Protest US Cotton Subsidies</b></div> <div>In October 2006, Malian farmers blamed the US government, and its policy of awarding billions of tax dollars to American cotton producers, for pushing them into greater debt. These subsidies, they argued, drove down prices worldwide and made it impossible for them to compete. In 2004, the World Trade Organization ruled that cotton subsidies illegally skewed the world market, but five years of negotiations collapsed with no solution. Cotton is considered &ldquo;white gold&rdquo; to most Malians, and many count on it for their survival. The country is the eighth largest cotton exporter in the world.</div> <div><a href="http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/cotton4.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">As African Farmers Struggle, Resentment Toward US grows</font></a> (by Dan Chapman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)</div> <div><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179023,00.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">WTO Reaches Trade Compromise Amid Violence</font></a> (Associated Press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Human Rights Groups Sue US Companies over Child Labor in Mali </b></div> <div>In July 2005, the International Labor Right Fund, a human rights group, sued three US companies in federal court in Los Angeles to end child labor on African farms producing cocoa beans and producing chocolate products. Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Cargill, Inc. were accused of trafficking, torture and forced labor of Malian children to work on Ivory Coast farms. Spokespeople from Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill had no comment, but representatives from Nestle said that the company was committed to working with the International Cocoa Initiative foundation created by the Harkin-Engel protocol. The lawsuit claimed that children were beaten and often forced to work 12-14 hours per day with no pay and little sleep. <a href="http://www.globalexchange.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Global Exchange</font></a><span>, a San Francisco-based human rights group, alleges that to date no effective steps have been taken by the companies to prevent the use of child labor on farms producing cocoa for companies like Nestle, and that these companies have nevertheless led their members and the public to believe otherwise.</span></div> <div><a href="http://www.iradvocates.org/nestlecase.html"><font color="#0000ff">International Rights Advocate</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/3334.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Companies Sued in Calif. over Child Labor Claims</font></a> (by Gina Keating, Reuters)</div>
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Human Rights
<p>Problems with Mali&rsquo;s human rights record, as reported by the State Department, included poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, lengthy pretrial detention, prolonged trial delays, and restrictions on speech, press, and assembly. Domestic violence and discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in children, hereditary servitude relationships between ethnic groups, child labor, and forced labor, including by children, also occurred.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the year Tuareg bandits attacked military units, kidnapped soldiers, and placed land mines that resulted in civilian casualties.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were occasional reports that police abused civilians and use of excessive force to disperse demonstrators resulted in injuries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On occasion, police arrested and detained persons arbitrarily. The police force was moderately effective, but lacked resources and training. Corruption was a problem, and some police and gendarmes extorted bribes. Police arbitrarily arrested journalists, demonstrators, students, and teachers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Overall prison conditions remained poor. Prisons continued to be overcrowded, medical facilities were inadequate, and food supplies were insufficient.<span>The State Department states that &ldquo;the central prison in Bamako housed 1,825 prisoners in a facility designed to hold 400. The Sikasso Prison held 178 prisoners in a facility built for 50.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lengthy pretrial detention had occurred in 2007. In extreme cases, individuals remained in prison for several years before their cases came to trial. According to the State Department &ldquo;in&nbsp;<span>May 2009 the Supreme Court overturned the 2007 conviction of bank chief executive officer (CEO) Mamadou Baba Diawara and investment company CEO Ismaila Haidara for fraud; however, the minister of justice ordered that they not be released. Diawara remained in prison at year's end. Haidara was released prior to the minister's order reaching the prison where he was held. Authorities arrested the prison warden, Sekouba Doumbia, who released Haidara, and he remained detained at year's end.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>Additionally, detainees were sometimes apprehended with insufficient warrants, often denied access to legal representation, and held longer than the allotted 48-hour period.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The executive branch of Mali&rsquo;s government continued to exert influence over the judicial system, and corruption and limited resources affected the fairness of some trials. Domestic human rights groups alleged that there were instances of bribery and influence peddling in the courts. Except in the case of minors, all trials were public and juries were used. Rights afforded to defendants included the right to an attorney, access to government evidence, and the right to appeal were extended to all citizens.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were several instances of the use of excessive force and other abuses in internal conflicts particularly with the Tuareg rebels, Barabiche Arabs, and the Ganda-Izo militia, often provoked by the rebel groups against the government.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The government generally respected freedom of the press during the year and with the exception of the arrest of one journalist and one citizen criticizing the government. The independent media was active and expressed a wide variety of views. Additionally, internet freedom was unrestricted. The right to freely assemble was not always respected, but the freedom of association and freedom of religion were generally respected as rights.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the State Department &ldquo;police routinely stopped and checked both citizens and foreigners to restrict the movement of contraband and to verify vehicle registrations. Some police and gendarmes extorted bribes.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The State Department also noted that &ldquo;in 2007 voters elected President Amadou Toumani Tour&eacute; to a second five-year term with 71 percent of the vote. Legislative elections were also held in 2007. Domestic and international observers characterized the 2007 elections as generally free, fair, and without evident fraud, but there were administrative irregularities.</span> &nbsp;<span>In Bamako, on election day, authorities arrested 94 persons for suspected electoral fraud. Most of the 94 cases involved the possession of stolen voter registration cards.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The law criminalizes rape, but spousal rape is not illegal. Most cases of rape were unreported. Domestic violence against women, including spousal abuse, was tolerated and common. Spousal abuse is a crime, but police were reluctant to enforce laws against or intervene in cases of domestic violence. Prostitution is legal and common in cities. The law does not specifically address sexual harassment, which occurred commonly.<span>Family law and traditional practices favor men. Women are legally obligated to obey their husbands. Women are particularly vulnerable in cases of divorce, child custody, and inheritance.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The State Department reported that &ldquo;sexual exploitation of children occurred. The police and the social services department under the Ministry for Solidarity and Social Development investigated and intervened in some reported cases of child abuse or neglect; however, the government provided few services for such children.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Female genital mutilation was common, particularly in rural areas, and was performed on girls between the ages of six months to six years. According to domestic NGOs, approximately 95% of adult women had undergone FGM. There are no laws against FGM, but a government decree prohibits FGM in government-funded health centers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, and within the country. Victims were generally trafficked for agricultural work, domestic servitude, begging, gold mining, and prostitution. The victims were usually from the central regions of the country and not a specific ethnic group. Women and girls were trafficked from Nigeria for sexual exploitation, mainly by Nigerian traffickers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.<span><span>The principal</span></span></div> <div><span>traffickers were mostly from West African countries, and included Koranic teachers known as &quot;marabouts,&quot; as well as smugglers of a variety of goods.</span><span>There were no reports of trafficking-related prosecutions during the year.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There was evidence that members of the black Tamachek community continued to live in forced servitude and were deprived of civil liberties by members of other ethnic groups.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The labor code has specific policies that pertain to child labor. These regulations often were ignored in practice, and child labor was a problem. Child labor predominated in the agricultural, mining, and domestic help sectors and, to a lesser degree, in craft and trade apprenticeships and cottan industries. According to the State Department, &ldquo;<span>approximately half of the children between the ages of seven and 14 were economically active, and over 40 percent of children in this age group were subjected to the worst forms of child labor. Child trafficking occurred. Some Koranic schoolmasters forced boys to beg for money or perform agricultural labor. Children, especially girls, were used for forced domestic labor and prostitution. Child labor in the mining sector, including salt mining in Taoudenni and gold mining, was also a problem.&rdquo;</span></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135964.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/africa/west-africa/mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Amnesty International</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Note: Embassy Dakar (in the Federation of Mali) was established Jun 20, 1960, with Donald A. Dumont as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Henry S. Villard</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 18, 1960</div> <div>Note: Commissioned to the Federation of Mali (capital at Dakar). Took oath of office, but the Federation of Mali was dissolved before Villard proceeded to post. See under Senegal for subsequent representation at Dakar. Embassy Bamako was established Sep 24, 1960, with John G. Dean as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Aug 27, 1960.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Thomas K. Wright</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 5, 1960</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 17, 1961</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1961</div> <div>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 6, 1961.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William J. Handley</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 7, 1961</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 1962</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 8, 1964</div> <div>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1962.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>C. Robert Moore</div> <div>Appointment: Mar 11, 1965</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1965</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 19, 1968</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>G. Edward Clark</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 24, 1968</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Oct 1, 1968</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 1, 1970</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert O. Blake</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 10, 1970</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1971</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, May 20, 1973</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ralph J. McGuire</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 19, 1973</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Mar 15, 1974</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 26, 1976</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Patricia M. Byrne</div> <div>Appointment: Sep 16, 1976</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 3, 1976</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 30, 1979</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Anne Forrester Holloway</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 6, 1979</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 5, 1980</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1981</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Parker W. Borg</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 18, 1981</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1981</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 8, 1984</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert J. Ryan, Jr.</div> <div>Appointment: Aug 13, 1984</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 14, 1984</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 31, 1987</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Maxwell Pringle</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 6, 1987</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 14, 1987</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 17, 1990</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Herbert Donald Gelber</div> <div>Appointment: Oct 22, 1990</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 18, 1990</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 22, 1993</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William H. Dameron, 3rd</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 16, 1993</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Nov 9, 1993</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 31, 1995</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Note: Carolee Heileman served as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim, Mar 1995&ndash;Mar 1996.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>David P. Rawson</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 19, 1995</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1996</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 26, 1999</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Michael Edward Ranneberger</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 16, 1999</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 2000</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 28, 2002</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Vicki Huddleston</div> <div>Appointment: Oct 3, 2002</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 9, 2002</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 21, 2005</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Terence Patrick McCulley</div> <div>Appointment: Jun 21, 2005</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 2005</div> <div>Termination of Mission: September 25, 2008</div>
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Mali's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Keita, Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine

The West African nation of Mali’s latest ambassador to the United States is a seasoned diplomat whose career has been focused more on relations with other African nations than with the U.S. Keita presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 18, 2012.

 
Born January 22, 1955, Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita completed secondary school at the French School of Cairo, Egypt, in June 1973, and earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Relations at Cairo University in May 1978.
 
Returning to Mali, on March 12, 1979, he joined the Foreign Ministry as a counselor-trainee, moving up to chief of the Middle East Section in 1981, and to chief of the Division on the Middle East and on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1987. For his first foreign posting, Keita was sent back to Egypt to serve as first counselor at the embassy in Cairo from 1989 to 1996. Returning to the Malian capital of Bamako, he served the Foreign Ministry as director of Political Affairs from 1996 to 1999, and as technical advisor from 1999 to 2001.
 
From January to November 1999, Keita participated in a series of meetings and seminars that developed the curriculum for the then-new Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a U.S. Defense Department project to create an institution to encourage discussion of the appropriate roles for the military in African democracies. For his first ambassadorship, Keita was appointed Ambassador to Ethiopia resident in Addis Ababa, with concurrent accreditation to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Djibouti, serving also as Permanent Representative to the African Union, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa and the UN Environmental Program, from 2001 to 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to secretary general of the Foreign Ministry, a post he retained until being named ambassador to the U.S.
 
In addition to his work for the Foreign Ministry, Keita founded and edited a weekly news publication, La Concorde, from 1985 to 1989, and served as a bilingual interpreter for the dictator of Mali, General Moussa Traoré, from 1980 to 1989. Keita has been married since 1980, and has five children. He speaks Arabic, French and English.
 
 

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Mali's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p><a href="http://www.maliembassy.us/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali&rsquo;s Embassy in the US</font></a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Mali

Leonard, Mary Beth
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama nominated veteran diplomat Mary Beth Leonard to become the U.S. Ambassador to Mali on June 21, 2011, and she was confirmed by the Senate on October 18. Leonard had previously served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Mali.

 
Leonard’s father, Earl Leonard, was a high school math teacher and vice principal in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Worcester’s Doherty Memorial High School, she earned a BA from Boston University with a major in economics and a minor in French; an MA in 1988 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, with an emphasis on African studies; and an MA in security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in 2004.
 
Leonard’s first job after college was as a research analyst for the Defense Department. She transferred to the Foreign Service in 1988. Her overseas assignments have included: consular and economic officer in Cameroon, where she evaluated visa applications to the United States; consular officer in Namibia; economic and commercial officer in Togo; and deputy principal officer in Cape Town, South Africa.
 
In Washington, she has served in the State Department Operations Center and twice as a desk officer in the Office of Southern African Affairs and Central African Affairs. 
 
Leonard also has been deputy chief of mission in Suriname and in Mali.
 
Most recently, she served as director of the Office of West African Affairs at the State Department.
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Mali

Milovanovic, Gillian
ambassador-image

Gillian A. Milovanovic has served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Mali since September 26, 2008.Milovanovic is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration.

 
She joined the Foreign Service in 1978. Her early assignments included a tour as an international relations officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Fisheries Affairs. She served as vice consul in Sydney, Australia; staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and as a political officer in Paris following a year of study at the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration.
 
In 1987, Milovanovic joined the US Consulate General in Cape Town, South Africa, where she served as political-economic officer and deputy consul general. From 1990 to 1994, she was political-military affairs officer and deputy political counselor at the US Embassy in Brussels, and from 1994 to 1997, she served as deputy chief of mission in Gaborone, Botswana.
 
Milovanovic was director of the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs at the State Department from 1997 to 1999, and served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, from July 1999 to August 2002. From August 2002 to July 2005, she was deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, and has also served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia from September 2005 to August 2008. 
 

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News
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Overview
<p>Mali is located in West Africa and encompasses both the Sahara Desert in the north and arable plains in the south. The Niger River enriches the soil nearby, allowing Mali&rsquo;s agricultural sector to flourish. The area has been ruled by a succession of African kingdoms, including the Ghana, Malink&eacute;, and Songhai, until being colonized by the French in 1880s. Calling the region the Soudan, the French appointed a civilian governor in Mali and enriched themselves with the country&rsquo;s natural resources. But in 1956, the French passed a law that gave Mali control over many of the country&rsquo;s own internal affairs. A brief federation with Senegal followed, and in 1960, a nationalist movement soon began. This led to independence, and the election of Modibo Keita as Mali&rsquo;s first president. Since then, the country has moved from extreme nationalization to a more centrist democratic government. Retired General Amadou Toumani Toure became the country&rsquo;s second democratically elected president in 2002, and he was re-elected to a second five-year term in 2007.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Relations between Mali and the United States have been overshadowed by several controversies. In October 2006, Malian farmers blamed the US government, and its policy of awarding billions of tax dollars to American cotton producers, for pushing them into greater debt. A year earlier, a human rights group sued three US companies in federal court in Los Angeles to end child labor involving Malian children on African farms producing cocoa beans and chocolate products. More recently, drug trafficking from South America to Mali has put the US government on alert, especially for drug smuggling that might profit terrorist groups.</p>
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Basic Information
<p><b>Lay of the Land</b>: Mali is landlocked in central West Africa.&nbsp;Sandstone plateaus, edged by sharp cliffs, interrupt the generally level terrain.&nbsp;The Sahara desert in the north gives way to arable land in the south.&nbsp;The lifeblood of the country is the Niger River, which (hopefully) floods over every year to enrich the nearby soil.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Population</b>: 12.3 million</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Religions</b>: Muslim (Sunni) 80.6%, Ethnoreligious 16.2%, Christian 3.1%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Mande (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke) 50%, Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, Songhai 6%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Languages</b>: Bamanakan 22.5%, Senoufo language cluster (e.g. Mamara, Supyire, Syenara) 10.3%, Maasina Fulfulde 7.6%, Maninkakan (Kita, Western) 5.8%, Soninke 5.8%, Songhay (Koyra Chiini, Koyraboro Senni) 5.0%, Dogon language cluster (e.g. Donno So, Jamsay, Tene Kan, Tomo Kan...) 4.5%, Bozo language cluster (e.g. Hainyaxo, Jenaama, Ti&egrave;ma Ci&egrave;w&egrave;, Ti&egrave;yaxo) 2.8%, French 0.001%.&nbsp;There are 50 living languages in Mali.</div>
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History
<p>From the beginning of civilization in Mali, the country has been ruled by a succession of ancient African empires&mdash;Ghana, Malink&eacute;, and Songhai&mdash;that occupied the West African savannah. These ancient empires traded with the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people.&nbsp;</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke or Saracol&eacute; people and centered in the area along the Mali-Mauritania frontier, became a popular trading state from about 700 to 1075. In the 11th century, the Malinke Kingdom originated on the upper Niger River. This kingdom expanded rapidly in the 13th century, under the leadership of Soundiata Keita, achieving its greatest success in 1325, when it conquered Timbuktu and Gao. Shortly afterwards, the kingdom began to decline, and by the 15th century, much of its former domain was lost.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Songhai Empire expanded its power from its center in Gao during the period 1465-1530. At its peak under Askia Mohammad I, it encompassed the Hausa states as far as Kano (in present-day Nigeria) and much of the territory that had belonged to the Mali Empire in the west. It was destroyed by a Moroccan invasion in 1591.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Around 1880, the French military began to occupy the Soudan. Within 10 years, they had reached the interior of the country and appointed a civilian governor in 1898, when the Malinke warrior Samory Tour&eacute; was defeated. The French preferred to rule indirectly, but often governed through appointed chiefs.&nbsp;As the colony of French Soudan, Mali was administered with other French colonial territories as the Federation of French West Africa.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1956, France passed the Fundamental Law, or Loi Cadre, allowing the Territorial Assembly to have extensive powers over their own internal affairs.&nbsp;They could form a cabinet with executive authority over their own matters. In 1958, after the French constitutional referendum, the <i>Republique Soudanaise</i> became a member of the French Community, with complete internal authority.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1959, Soudan joined Senegal to form the Mali Federation. This became independent within the French Community on June 20, 1960. However, the federation collapsed on August 20, 1960, when Senegal seceded. On September 22, Soudan proclaimed itself the Republic of Mali and withdrew from the French Community.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>President Modibo Keita soon decaled a single-party state and moved to pursue a socialist policy based on extensive nationalization. However, these moves contributed to a rapidly deteriorating economy and forced the decision to rejoin the Franc Zone in 1967.</div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <div>On November 19, 1968, several young officers staged a bloodless coup and set up a 14-member Military Committee for National Liberation (CMLN), with Lt. Moussa Traore as president. Their main course of action was to pursue economic reforms. But for several years, they faced major political struggles and a disastrous Sahelian drought.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1974, Mali approved a new constitution that maintained a one-party state and moved Mali toward civilian rule. Military leaders remained in power, and in September 1976, a new political party was established&mdash;the Democratic Union of the Malian People (UDPM)&mdash;to advance the concept of democratic centralism. In June 1979, presidential and legislative elections were held, with General Moussa Traore receiving 99% of the vote. In 1980, a student-led coalition held anti-government protests and tried to challenge the single-party government. The demonstrations were put down with violence, as were three separate coup attempts on Traore&rsquo;s government.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During 1981 and 1982, Mali&rsquo;s political situation stabilized. The UDPM government began to attend to the country&rsquo;s economic problems and approved a plan to provide for marketing liberalization, reform in the state enterprise system, and new incentives to private enterprise. Mali reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but by 1990, many in the country grew tired of the austere measures and the growing perception that the president and his associates did not adhere to them personally.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Over time, demands for a multi-party democracy increased. The Traore government allowed some changes and established an independent press, along with free political association, while insisting that the country was not ready for democracy. In 1991, student-led rioting broke out again, but the government supported these efforts. On March 26, 1991, after four days of fighting, a group of 17 military officers arrested President Traore and suspended the constitution. A few days later, these officers joined with the Coordinating Committee of Democratic Associations to form a predominantly civilian, 25-member ruling body&mdash;the Transitional Committee for the Salvation of the People (CTSP).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The CTSP appointed a civilian-led government and held a conference in August 1991 to produce a draft constitution, a charter for political parties, and an electoral code. On January 12, 1992, this new constitution was approved by referendum. New political parties were formed, and between January and April 1992, a president, National Assembly, and municipal councils were elected. On June 8, 1992, Alpha Oumar Konare, the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA), was inaugurated as the president of Mali&rsquo;s Third Republic.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 1997, Mali attempted to renew national institutions through democratic elections. But administrative difficulties resulted in the April election results being annulled. President Konare&rsquo;s ADEMA party flexed its political muscle in subsequent elections, which many opponents boycotted.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In June-July 2002, new elections were held. But President Konare did not seek reelection due to term limits established under the constitution. Retired General Amadou Toumani Tour&eacute;, former head of state during Mali&rsquo;s transition from 1991-1992, became the country&rsquo;s second democratically elected president as an independent candidate. Tour&eacute; was reelected to a second five-year term in 2007.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>In 2009, Tour&eacute; began preparing citizens for constitutional change in an upcoming referendum, which would better define and reform the government's and the judiciary's powers. Additionally, the government announced that some 30 laws and regulations are in need of amendments or complete change. This includes the press code, and loosening restrictions on journalists.</span><span>It also increases the powers of the opposition and the constitutional court.</span><span>According to the Malian presidency, the reform package will be reviewed by President Tour&eacute;, after which it will be presented to the Bamako parliament for approval. After that, Mr Tour&eacute; said he intends to organize a popular referendum by the end of 2010.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Mali</font></a> (Wikipedia)</div> <div><a href="http://www.everyculture.com/Ja-Ma/Mali.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Culture of Mali</font></a> (EveryCulture.com)</div> <div><a href="http://www.historyofnations.net/africa/mali.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Mali</font></a> (History of Nations)</div> <div><a href="http://www.timbuktufoundation.org/history.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">History of Timbuktu</font></a>&nbsp;(Timbuktu Educational Foundation)</div> <div><a href="http://webusers.xula.edu/jrotondo/Kingdoms/Mali/MaliHistNarr.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali</font></a> (Xavier University of Louisiana)</div>
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Mali's Newspapers
<p><a href="http://www.mediamali.org/presse-ecrite-et-agences"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali&rsquo;s Newspapers</font></a></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.afribone.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Afriborne</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cefib.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Cefib</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.essor.gov.ml/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">L&rsquo;Essor</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.info-matin.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Info-Matin</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.malikounda.com/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Malikounda</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.cefib.com/presse/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Presse</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Mali
<p>Economic assistance from the US to Mali originated in 1961 and was controlled by a bilateral mission until 1968. US assistance was limited at first. USAID&rsquo;s strategy was aimed at moderating the socialist leanings of the Mali government through bilateral and regional programs and encouraging cooperative efforts between adjacent states and other Western donors. Three areas of focus were food production, education and training, and rural infrastructure. <br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <div>Economic assistance to Mali was managed by the USAID regional office in Dakar from 1968 to 1974. The US contributed large quantities of emergency food assistance to Mali, as well as undertaking relief and rehabilitation activities during the Sahel drought years of 1973-75. Due to problems from trying to control the USAID program from outside the country, a Country Development Office (CDO) was created in 1974. <br /> <br /> A fundamental change in US foreign aid policy was legislated by Congress in 1973. According to the New Directions Mandate, USAID was to concentrate on helping the rural poor rather than on providing general assistance directed at augmenting overall economic development.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>USAID completed an evaluation of the long-term development plan in the Sahel in 1984. As a result, the program started to break down the range of activities under the Sahel Development Program and seceded from sectors where qualification or direction ability had been restricted</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><a href="http://www.usaid.gov/ml/en/history.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Forty Years of USAID in Mali (1961-2000)</font></a> (by Chris Strickland and Boubacar Daou, USAID)</div> <div><a href="http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali</font></a> (Peace Corps Wiki)</div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Mali
<p>Mali cooperates with the US in the fight against international terrorism. It also participates in testing of new malaria medication, and USAID, the Peace Corps, and other US government programs play a role in fostering sustainable economic and social development in the country.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>USAID also assists the Malian government in strengthening its efforts to produce peace in the northern part of the country and helps to integrate its soci<span>oeconomic and political integration. With encouragement from the US, Mali and three other Saharan countries set up a joint military base to combat terrorism linked to al-Qaeda. The command and control center, located in Tamanrasset, Algeria, will create a common database and allow for the countries to launch joint simultaneous operations. The US army has been pressing for better coordination among these countries and says that it will conduct large-scale training exercises with the military in Mali.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Several countries in West Africa, including Mali, have caught the attention of Washington for their coordination with drug-traffickers from South America. Drugs arriving in West Africa are eventually smuggled into European markets. Between 1998 and 2003, the annual cocaine seizures in Africa averaged about 0.6 tons, which represents a tiny proportion of the global seizure of cocaine. However, since 2004 there has been an upward trend in African seizures with 2.5 tons that year. In 2006 the figure was even bigger, with 2.8 and in 2007 there was a dramatic increase to more than 5.7 tons of cocaine seized. Ninety-nine percent of seizures were reported from Western African countries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In one incident in November 2009, a Boeing plane arriving from Venezuela unloaded a cargo of drugs into Mali and then crashed after takeoff. As a response to this and similar incidences, a multitude of US government agencies that are coordinated by the African Command (AFRICOM), help provide equipment and training to various law-enforcement groups.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The United States has provided assistance to Mali in preserving early Timbuktu manuscripts as part of Mali&rsquo;s cultural heritage.</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In 2006, 14,222 Americans visited Mali, an increase of 46.2% from 2005. &nbsp;More Americans have visited every year since 2002, when 6,015 Americans traveled to Mali.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006, 2,669 Mali nationals visited the US, up from 1,688 in 2005. The number of visitors has fluctuated within the range of 1,500 to 3,000 per year, since 2002.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://westernfarmpress.com/news/11-30-05-West-Africa-Improvement-Program/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US launches West Africa Cotton Improvement Program</font></a> (by Forrest Laws, Western Farm Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/25/AR2005072501801_pf.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Pushes Anti-Terrorism in Africa</font></a> (by Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post)</div> <div><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/saharan-countries-bid-to-fight-terror-1950712.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Saharan Countries Bid to Fight Terror</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2010/04/22/4_saharan_countries_set_up_joint_military_base/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">4 Saharan Countries Set up Joint Military Base</font></a> (by Alfred de Montesquiou, Associated Press)</div> <div><a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gW9XpB-RxuseuVxCct-Jv5MBI4Qw"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Three Arrested over Suspected Mali Drugs Plane</font></a> (Agence France-Presse)</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p>From 2005 to 2009, US imports from Mali were dominated by <span>artwork, antiques, stamps and other collectibles, which increased from $294,000 to $1.42 million. Other imports on the rise included generators, transformers, and accessories, which moved up from $28,000 to $101,000; nonmonetary gold, increasing from $67,000 to $226,000; and semiconductors and related devices, rising from $39,000 to $242,000. </span></p> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>During the same period, US imports from Mali on the decline included<span>computer accessories (peripherals and parts), which fell from $290,000 to $12,000; telecommunication equipment, decreasing from $168,000&nbsp;to $89,000; scientific, medical and hospital equipment, decreasing from $59,000 to $0; and clocks, port typerwriters, and other household goods, down from $108,000 to $3,000. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>From 2005 to 2009, US exports to Mali included excavating machinery, which increased from $1.8 million to $6.1 million; agricultural industry (unmanufactured), moving up from $0 to $4.7 million; and plastic materials, rising from $2.4 million to $3.2 million.</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>During the same time, US exports on the decline included <span>specialized mining equipment, which decreased from $1.7 million to $24,000; telecommunications equipment, down from $3.5 million to $1.1 million; textiles and sewing machines, falling from $2.8 million to $491,000; and toiletries and cosmetics, decreasing from $5.0 million to $27,000. </span></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>Of the $102.7 million in US aid to Mali in 2009, $55.6 million went to Investing in People, $39.9 million went to Economic Growth, $6.7 million went to Administration and Oversight, and $4.3 million went to Peace and Security.&nbsp;The three largest single programs are Global Health and Child Survival (through USAID) with $33.7 million, Agriculture with $28.9&nbsp;million, and Education with $18.2 million.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The health of the Malian citizens is a priority of US spending, and specific programs include the President&rsquo;s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and US Assistance under Basic Education (PIEE/BE), as well as focusing on maternal and child health.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mali was included in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) program, which partners Saharan countries with US on efforts to fight the war on terror. The US seeks cooperation from the Malian government to monitor the country&rsquo;s porous borders, easily trespassed by terrorist groups, particularly focusing on the North. The TSCTP program targets at-risk youth by providing job skills and supporting income-generating activities.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In FY 2011, the US government will continue to support the construction of new radio stations, primarily in the North. The radio stations will help to broadcast and disseminate information, including counter-terrorism messages, voter education, women&rsquo;s empowerment, and health issues, among others. Presently, community radio stations reach 89% of the population, or 10.7 million people. Additional support from the US government will be geared toward increased training of journalists in news reporting, providing equipment, and including more substantive topics to media discussions.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government also sponsors the training of Malian military personnel through US professional military schools under the International Military and Education Training (IMET) Program. So far, the program has graduated 35 Malian officers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Under the Development Assistance program, the US supports Mali&rsquo;s decentralization framework that emphasizes local-level authority and financing. Through USAID, the program provides hands-on training to mayors, communal council members and civil society organizations so that they can design, plan, and manage the delivery of education, water, agriculture and health. USAID expects to expand the program from 82 to 150 communes in FY2011. In the future, the US also plans to support civic education campaigns, anti-corruption initiatives, and the advocacy of female leadership.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government has also undertaken the advancement of Mali&rsquo;s education system. Part of US involvement is using the radio for national instruction to increase access and enhance literacy. Also, US funding will support decentralization of basic education.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The US government has focused much attention on the agricultural sector with the hope that increased funding and productivity will ensure economic growth. Several Malian committees and organizations will address regional trade issues, such as excessive custom fees, inadequate transportation corridors, and inefficient market structures. Additionally, more roads will be built to increase access to local and national markets. The US will also focus on implementing a food security plan that helps farmers at all stages of production including irrigation, soil fertility, storage and processing. The development of the poultry sector and the inclusion of women in the husbandry sector are also included in the budgeted expenses.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In 2006 Mali signed a five-year $460 million deal with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to stimulate the economy and lessen poverty. Upon completion of feasibility studies in November 2007, the program was restructured to include the Alatona Irrigation Project, the Bamako-Senou International Airport project, as well as a monitoring and evaluation program. MCC investments hope to improve market access for local producers, strengthen value-added production, and increase primary sector productivity.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Imports from Mali</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Exports from Mali</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c7450.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Trade in Goods (Imports, Exports and Trade Balance) with Mali</font></a> (US Census Bureau)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64680.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali: Security Assistance</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/137937.pdf"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations</font></a> (pages 107-113) (pdf)</div> <div><a href="http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YAOI-6UY37G?OpenDocument"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Millennium Challenge Corporation approves $461 million for Mali</font></a> (ReliefWeb.int)</div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/55214.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Signs Open Skies Aviation Agreement with Mali</font></a> (US Department of State)</div> <div><a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/16/business/fi-wto16"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Trade Body Rules Against US on Cotton Subsidies</font></a> (Associated Press)</div>
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Controversies
<p><b>Malian Drug Runners Accused of Working with al-Qaeda</b></p> <div>In 2009, federal prosecutors in New York indicted three Malian men who they say had promised to transport drugs across the desert in league with al-Qaeda, which would serve as the security arm of the operation. It was the first prosecution linking the terrorist group to drug trafficking. The men were arrested in Ghana on a drug enforcement sting and were charged under narco-terrorism laws. There has been a sharp rise in cocaine trafficking in West Africa in the past few years, alarming European, African, and American officials. Investigators have linked drug profits from smuggling to terrorists seeking to use those profits in attacks on the West, specifically referencing the 2004 Madrid attacks where terrorists had been financed through drug deals. Officials said one of the men is caught on tape claiming that he regularly supplied extremist forces with gasoline and food.</div> <div><a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/19/nation/la-na-al-qaeda-cocaine19-2009dec19"><font color="#0000ff">US Prosecution Links Drugs to Terror</font></a> (by Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>US Attorney General Intervenes in Genital Mutilation Case</b></div> <div>In September 2008, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an immigration court to reconsider an African woman&rsquo;s case before deporting her to Mali, where she had been forced to undergo genital mutilation.&nbsp;Citing the possibility of future persecution (and possibly forced marriage) based on this mutilation, Mukasey sent the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals for reconsideration. The Justice Department admitted that it was extremely rare for an attorney general to intervene in a low-level immigration case, but the procedure has been linked to tissue damage, severe infection and fever, and possibly death.</div> <div><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/09/22/genital.mutiliation.immigrant/index.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">AG: Don&rsquo;t Deport Genital Mutilation Victim</font></a> (by Terry Frieden, CNN)</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Tuareg Rebels Bring Down US Military Plane </b></div> <div>In September 2007, Tuareg rebels fired on a US military plane that was flying food supplies to Malian troops fighting them in the north of the country. The plane was able to return to the capital of Bamako, although it was unclear whether a serviceman was injured. The mission was code-named Operation Flintlock and aimed at countering terrorism and Islamic militancy in the region. While insurgents claim they have been oppressed, some in the Malian government have connected them with trafficking in arms and drugs.</div> <div><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1385883120070913?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=worldNews"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Plane Hit by Gunfire on Resupply Flight in Mali</font></a> (by Tiemoko Diallo, Reuters)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Malian Farmers Protest US Cotton Subsidies</b></div> <div>In October 2006, Malian farmers blamed the US government, and its policy of awarding billions of tax dollars to American cotton producers, for pushing them into greater debt. These subsidies, they argued, drove down prices worldwide and made it impossible for them to compete. In 2004, the World Trade Organization ruled that cotton subsidies illegally skewed the world market, but five years of negotiations collapsed with no solution. Cotton is considered &ldquo;white gold&rdquo; to most Malians, and many count on it for their survival. The country is the eighth largest cotton exporter in the world.</div> <div><a href="http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/cotton4.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">As African Farmers Struggle, Resentment Toward US grows</font></a> (by Dan Chapman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)</div> <div><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179023,00.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">WTO Reaches Trade Compromise Amid Violence</font></a> (Associated Press)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Human Rights Groups Sue US Companies over Child Labor in Mali </b></div> <div>In July 2005, the International Labor Right Fund, a human rights group, sued three US companies in federal court in Los Angeles to end child labor on African farms producing cocoa beans and producing chocolate products. Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Cargill, Inc. were accused of trafficking, torture and forced labor of Malian children to work on Ivory Coast farms. Spokespeople from Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill had no comment, but representatives from Nestle said that the company was committed to working with the International Cocoa Initiative foundation created by the Harkin-Engel protocol. The lawsuit claimed that children were beaten and often forced to work 12-14 hours per day with no pay and little sleep. <a href="http://www.globalexchange.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Global Exchange</font></a><span>, a San Francisco-based human rights group, alleges that to date no effective steps have been taken by the companies to prevent the use of child labor on farms producing cocoa for companies like Nestle, and that these companies have nevertheless led their members and the public to believe otherwise.</span></div> <div><a href="http://www.iradvocates.org/nestlecase.html"><font color="#0000ff">International Rights Advocate</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/3334.html"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US Companies Sued in Calif. over Child Labor Claims</font></a> (by Gina Keating, Reuters)</div>
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Human Rights
<p>Problems with Mali&rsquo;s human rights record, as reported by the State Department, included poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, lengthy pretrial detention, prolonged trial delays, and restrictions on speech, press, and assembly. Domestic violence and discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in children, hereditary servitude relationships between ethnic groups, child labor, and forced labor, including by children, also occurred.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>During the year Tuareg bandits attacked military units, kidnapped soldiers, and placed land mines that resulted in civilian casualties.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were occasional reports that police abused civilians and use of excessive force to disperse demonstrators resulted in injuries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>On occasion, police arrested and detained persons arbitrarily. The police force was moderately effective, but lacked resources and training. Corruption was a problem, and some police and gendarmes extorted bribes. Police arbitrarily arrested journalists, demonstrators, students, and teachers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Overall prison conditions remained poor. Prisons continued to be overcrowded, medical facilities were inadequate, and food supplies were insufficient.<span>The State Department states that &ldquo;the central prison in Bamako housed 1,825 prisoners in a facility designed to hold 400. The Sikasso Prison held 178 prisoners in a facility built for 50.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lengthy pretrial detention had occurred in 2007. In extreme cases, individuals remained in prison for several years before their cases came to trial. According to the State Department &ldquo;in&nbsp;<span>May 2009 the Supreme Court overturned the 2007 conviction of bank chief executive officer (CEO) Mamadou Baba Diawara and investment company CEO Ismaila Haidara for fraud; however, the minister of justice ordered that they not be released. Diawara remained in prison at year's end. Haidara was released prior to the minister's order reaching the prison where he was held. Authorities arrested the prison warden, Sekouba Doumbia, who released Haidara, and he remained detained at year's end.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>Additionally, detainees were sometimes apprehended with insufficient warrants, often denied access to legal representation, and held longer than the allotted 48-hour period.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The executive branch of Mali&rsquo;s government continued to exert influence over the judicial system, and corruption and limited resources affected the fairness of some trials. Domestic human rights groups alleged that there were instances of bribery and influence peddling in the courts. Except in the case of minors, all trials were public and juries were used. Rights afforded to defendants included the right to an attorney, access to government evidence, and the right to appeal were extended to all citizens.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were several instances of the use of excessive force and other abuses in internal conflicts particularly with the Tuareg rebels, Barabiche Arabs, and the Ganda-Izo militia, often provoked by the rebel groups against the government.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The government generally respected freedom of the press during the year and with the exception of the arrest of one journalist and one citizen criticizing the government. The independent media was active and expressed a wide variety of views. Additionally, internet freedom was unrestricted. The right to freely assemble was not always respected, but the freedom of association and freedom of religion were generally respected as rights.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to the State Department &ldquo;police routinely stopped and checked both citizens and foreigners to restrict the movement of contraband and to verify vehicle registrations. Some police and gendarmes extorted bribes.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The State Department also noted that &ldquo;in 2007 voters elected President Amadou Toumani Tour&eacute; to a second five-year term with 71 percent of the vote. Legislative elections were also held in 2007. Domestic and international observers characterized the 2007 elections as generally free, fair, and without evident fraud, but there were administrative irregularities.</span> &nbsp;<span>In Bamako, on election day, authorities arrested 94 persons for suspected electoral fraud. Most of the 94 cases involved the possession of stolen voter registration cards.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The law criminalizes rape, but spousal rape is not illegal. Most cases of rape were unreported. Domestic violence against women, including spousal abuse, was tolerated and common. Spousal abuse is a crime, but police were reluctant to enforce laws against or intervene in cases of domestic violence. Prostitution is legal and common in cities. The law does not specifically address sexual harassment, which occurred commonly.<span>Family law and traditional practices favor men. Women are legally obligated to obey their husbands. Women are particularly vulnerable in cases of divorce, child custody, and inheritance.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The State Department reported that &ldquo;sexual exploitation of children occurred. The police and the social services department under the Ministry for Solidarity and Social Development investigated and intervened in some reported cases of child abuse or neglect; however, the government provided few services for such children.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Female genital mutilation was common, particularly in rural areas, and was performed on girls between the ages of six months to six years. According to domestic NGOs, approximately 95% of adult women had undergone FGM. There are no laws against FGM, but a government decree prohibits FGM in government-funded health centers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, and within the country. Victims were generally trafficked for agricultural work, domestic servitude, begging, gold mining, and prostitution. The victims were usually from the central regions of the country and not a specific ethnic group. Women and girls were trafficked from Nigeria for sexual exploitation, mainly by Nigerian traffickers.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and persons with HIV/AIDS occurred.<span><span>The principal</span></span></div> <div><span>traffickers were mostly from West African countries, and included Koranic teachers known as &quot;marabouts,&quot; as well as smugglers of a variety of goods.</span><span>There were no reports of trafficking-related prosecutions during the year.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>There was evidence that members of the black Tamachek community continued to live in forced servitude and were deprived of civil liberties by members of other ethnic groups.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The labor code has specific policies that pertain to child labor. These regulations often were ignored in practice, and child labor was a problem. Child labor predominated in the agricultural, mining, and domestic help sectors and, to a lesser degree, in craft and trade apprenticeships and cottan industries. According to the State Department, &ldquo;<span>approximately half of the children between the ages of seven and 14 were economically active, and over 40 percent of children in this age group were subjected to the worst forms of child labor. Child trafficking occurred. Some Koranic schoolmasters forced boys to beg for money or perform agricultural labor. Children, especially girls, were used for forced domestic labor and prostitution. Child labor in the mining sector, including salt mining in Taoudenni and gold mining, was also a problem.&rdquo;</span></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135964.htm"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">US State Department</font></a></div> <div><a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/africa/west-africa/mali"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Amnesty International</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p>Note: Embassy Dakar (in the Federation of Mali) was established Jun 20, 1960, with Donald A. Dumont as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Henry S. Villard</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 18, 1960</div> <div>Note: Commissioned to the Federation of Mali (capital at Dakar). Took oath of office, but the Federation of Mali was dissolved before Villard proceeded to post. See under Senegal for subsequent representation at Dakar. Embassy Bamako was established Sep 24, 1960, with John G. Dean as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Aug 27, 1960.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Thomas K. Wright</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 5, 1960</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 17, 1961</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1961</div> <div>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 6, 1961.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William J. Handley</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 7, 1961</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 1962</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 8, 1964</div> <div>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1962.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>C. Robert Moore</div> <div>Appointment: Mar 11, 1965</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Apr 17, 1965</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 19, 1968</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>G. Edward Clark</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 24, 1968</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Oct 1, 1968</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 1, 1970</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert O. Blake</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 10, 1970</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1971</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, May 20, 1973</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ralph J. McGuire</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 19, 1973</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Mar 15, 1974</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 26, 1976</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Patricia M. Byrne</div> <div>Appointment: Sep 16, 1976</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 3, 1976</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 30, 1979</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Anne Forrester Holloway</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 6, 1979</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Jan 5, 1980</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1981</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Parker W. Borg</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 18, 1981</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1981</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 8, 1984</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert J. Ryan, Jr.</div> <div>Appointment: Aug 13, 1984</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 14, 1984</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 31, 1987</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Robert Maxwell Pringle</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 6, 1987</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 14, 1987</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 17, 1990</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Herbert Donald Gelber</div> <div>Appointment: Oct 22, 1990</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 18, 1990</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 22, 1993</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>William H. Dameron, 3rd</div> <div>Appointment: Jul 16, 1993</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Nov 9, 1993</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 31, 1995</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Note: Carolee Heileman served as Charg&eacute; d&rsquo;Affaires ad interim, Mar 1995&ndash;Mar 1996.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>David P. Rawson</div> <div>Appointment: Dec 19, 1995</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1996</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 26, 1999</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Michael Edward Ranneberger</div> <div>Appointment: Nov 16, 1999</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 2000</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 28, 2002</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Vicki Huddleston</div> <div>Appointment: Oct 3, 2002</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Dec 9, 2002</div> <div>Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 21, 2005</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Terence Patrick McCulley</div> <div>Appointment: Jun 21, 2005</div> <div>Presentation of Credentials: Sep 2, 2005</div> <div>Termination of Mission: September 25, 2008</div>
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Mali's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Keita, Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine

The West African nation of Mali’s latest ambassador to the United States is a seasoned diplomat whose career has been focused more on relations with other African nations than with the U.S. Keita presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 18, 2012.

 
Born January 22, 1955, Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita completed secondary school at the French School of Cairo, Egypt, in June 1973, and earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Relations at Cairo University in May 1978.
 
Returning to Mali, on March 12, 1979, he joined the Foreign Ministry as a counselor-trainee, moving up to chief of the Middle East Section in 1981, and to chief of the Division on the Middle East and on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1987. For his first foreign posting, Keita was sent back to Egypt to serve as first counselor at the embassy in Cairo from 1989 to 1996. Returning to the Malian capital of Bamako, he served the Foreign Ministry as director of Political Affairs from 1996 to 1999, and as technical advisor from 1999 to 2001.
 
From January to November 1999, Keita participated in a series of meetings and seminars that developed the curriculum for the then-new Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a U.S. Defense Department project to create an institution to encourage discussion of the appropriate roles for the military in African democracies. For his first ambassadorship, Keita was appointed Ambassador to Ethiopia resident in Addis Ababa, with concurrent accreditation to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Djibouti, serving also as Permanent Representative to the African Union, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa and the UN Environmental Program, from 2001 to 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to secretary general of the Foreign Ministry, a post he retained until being named ambassador to the U.S.
 
In addition to his work for the Foreign Ministry, Keita founded and edited a weekly news publication, La Concorde, from 1985 to 1989, and served as a bilingual interpreter for the dictator of Mali, General Moussa Traoré, from 1980 to 1989. Keita has been married since 1980, and has five children. He speaks Arabic, French and English.
 
 

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Mali's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p><a href="http://www.maliembassy.us/"><font size="2" color="#0000ff">Mali&rsquo;s Embassy in the US</font></a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Mali

Leonard, Mary Beth
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama nominated veteran diplomat Mary Beth Leonard to become the U.S. Ambassador to Mali on June 21, 2011, and she was confirmed by the Senate on October 18. Leonard had previously served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Mali.

 
Leonard’s father, Earl Leonard, was a high school math teacher and vice principal in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Worcester’s Doherty Memorial High School, she earned a BA from Boston University with a major in economics and a minor in French; an MA in 1988 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, with an emphasis on African studies; and an MA in security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in 2004.
 
Leonard’s first job after college was as a research analyst for the Defense Department. She transferred to the Foreign Service in 1988. Her overseas assignments have included: consular and economic officer in Cameroon, where she evaluated visa applications to the United States; consular officer in Namibia; economic and commercial officer in Togo; and deputy principal officer in Cape Town, South Africa.
 
In Washington, she has served in the State Department Operations Center and twice as a desk officer in the Office of Southern African Affairs and Central African Affairs. 
 
Leonard also has been deputy chief of mission in Suriname and in Mali.
 
Most recently, she served as director of the Office of West African Affairs at the State Department.
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Mali

Milovanovic, Gillian
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Gillian A. Milovanovic has served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Mali since September 26, 2008.Milovanovic is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration.

 
She joined the Foreign Service in 1978. Her early assignments included a tour as an international relations officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Fisheries Affairs. She served as vice consul in Sydney, Australia; staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and as a political officer in Paris following a year of study at the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration.
 
In 1987, Milovanovic joined the US Consulate General in Cape Town, South Africa, where she served as political-economic officer and deputy consul general. From 1990 to 1994, she was political-military affairs officer and deputy political counselor at the US Embassy in Brussels, and from 1994 to 1997, she served as deputy chief of mission in Gaborone, Botswana.
 
Milovanovic was director of the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs at the State Department from 1997 to 1999, and served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, from July 1999 to August 2002. From August 2002 to July 2005, she was deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, and has also served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia from September 2005 to August 2008. 
 

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