US Suspends Aid to Mali After Coup

Posted March 26th, 2012 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says it is suspending aid to Mali's government following last week's military coup there.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland Monday said that $60 million to $70 million in aid may be affected by the decision. However, she said the United States will continue to give food and humanitarian assistance.

She said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Monday to Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and said the United States supports the efforts of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to help resolve the situation.

Earlier Monday, the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the “forcible seizure of power” from Mali's democratically elected government.

In a written statement, the world body called on “mutinous troops” to cease all violence and return to their barracks. The Security Council demanded that constitutional order be restored and elections be held in late April as previously planned.

Hundreds of people demonstrated Monday in the capital, Bamako, against last week's military coup.

The African Union has suspended Mali's membership and the United States and European Union continue to recognize President Amadou Toumani Touré as the country's leader. Mr. Touré was due to step down at the end of his second term weeks from now.

The renegade troops say they took power in order to launch a more effective response to an ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the north.

Since the coup late Wednesday, Tuareg rebels have advanced against northern towns.

Heavily armed Tuareg separatists started attacking army bases in Mali's desert in January, after many Tuareg fighters returned from Libya.

Tuareg nomads have periodically launched uprisings for greater autonomy in Mali and Niger.