WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) Tuesday on his election as the Malian president, while calling for continued efforts toward national reconciliation and security reform in the West African nation.
"We also commend the interim government for securing a peaceful, inclusive, and orderly election, and applaud its efforts to improve the process and alleviate challenges throughout," Kerry said in a statement.
The transparent and credible manner in which the election was conducted "honors Mali's democratic tradition, and reflects the progress that Mali has made over the past 18 months," Kerry said.
He also urged Mali's new government to build on these efforts in preparing for upcoming legislative elections, which are "the next important milestone as Mali restores its democratic institutions."
To ensure the best possibility of consolidating this progress, Mali's new government must address the country's most pressing challenges, including national reconciliation and security sector reform, the top U.S. diplomat said.
Mali's second round of presidential race between former Prime Minister Keita and his major rival former Finance Minister Soumaila Cisse ended on Sunday.
According to provisional results announced Thursday, Keita, who is also the former president of the National Assembly (parliament), has been elected president of the country.
Monitored by over 100 observers from the European Union, the election was seen as an important step to impose order in the nation, which has been gripped by fightings between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists since early 2012.