BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday congratulated Ibrahim Keita Boubarka, widely known as IBK, on his election as president of Mali, pledging close cooperation with the new government and better bilateral relations.
"Ibrahim Keita Boubarka is an old friend of China. We congratulate him on his election and believe that he will lead Mali to a new phase of national peace, stability and development," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a press release.
Calling Mali "a country traditionally friendly to China," Hong said China has always supported Mali's peaceful development and will join efforts by the international community to support Mali's national stability and economic and social development.
According to provisional results announced Thursday, IBK, Mali's former prime minister and former president of the National Assembly (parliament), has been elected president of the West African country.
Monitored by more than 100 observers from the European Union, the election is seen as an important step in restoring order to the West African nation gripped by a political crisis.
Since early 2012, Mali has witnessed a military coup d'etat, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists.