The United States established diplomatic relations with Mali in 1960, following its independence from France. In 1992, Mali moved from a one-party state to multiparty democracy. In March 2012, Mali's elected civilian government was removed in a military seizure of power, and an interim administration was subsequently put in place. An rebellion in northern Mali waged primarily by ethnic Tuareg groups, which began in January 2012, forced hundreds of thousands of Malians from their homes. Mali continues to face security challenges in the north from Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other armed extremist groups.
Prior to March 2012, U.S.-Malian relations were excellent and were based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. The country’s stable, democratic government had been in place for almost two decades and had significantly reduced poverty and improved the quality of life for many Malians. However, Mali remained near the bottom of the Human Development Index, notably in health and education.
The United States condemned the March 2012 military seizure of power. The United States continues to call on Mali’s interim government to hold presidential elections that are free of interference by the military by April 2013, the deadline set by the regional organization the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), or as soon as technically feasible. The United States also calls on the rebel groups in northern Mali to renounce any connection with terrorist groups and enter into legitimate political negotiations. A strong, stable, democratic government in Mali is essential in order for the country to deal successfully with its multiple economic, social, political, and security challenges.