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Mali president confident of restoration of state normalcy

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-01-29 16:36

ADDIS ABABA - Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore says he is ever more confident that normalcy will be restored in his country.

Traore voiced optimism in an interview with Xinhua on Monday at the end of the two-day summit of the African Union (AU) held at the bloc's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

With the support of other African countries and France, the former colonial power of Mali, the Malian army has recaptured a string of towns this month, including Gao, the biggest in northern Mali, and Timbuktu listed as  world heritage by the United Nations.

"We are a little more confident than our friends. All that has been achieved through the support we have received has not only brought hope to us, but to all Africans," the Malian president told Xinhua.

He was speaking after the summit committed 50 million to Mali in support of the ongoing military operations against rebels in the north. The AU support is part of a package of 760 million dollars to be raised for Mali, including 460 million dollars for international military intervention and 300 million dollars for restructuring the Malian army.

A conference of donors opened Tuesday at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra said 70 international partners have been invited to the conference.

Meanwhile, Traore condemned religious extremism that had plunged Mali into terror and violence.

The Malian leader also condemned the human rights violations committed by rebels, especially the raping of women and girls and the cutting-off of the hands of Malian youths.

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