President: Mali will be ready for July vote

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By BAMAKO and Mali, Associated Press

Mali's interim president is seeking to reassure international partners that the country will be ready to hold democratic elections by July as promised even though it is fighting a war against radical Islamic fighters.

President Dioncounda Traore made the comments before a meeting Friday in the capital that included representatives from the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union.

Traore says that with the support of Mali's friends, the West African country should be able to hold elections on time.

Critics have questioned how Mali will be able to hold such a vote given the fact that hundreds of thousands were displaced by turmoil since March 2012.

Security remains a key concern, especially in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

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