ECOWAS Suspends Mali’s Membership Over Coup

Posted March 27th, 2012 at 5:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A West African regional group has suspended Mali's membership and will send a delegation to the country in response to a coup carried out by renegade soldiers last week.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, chair of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, called an emergency meeting Tuesday in Abidjan. Afterward, representatives of 15 member states announced Mali's suspension and said within 48 hours they would send a delegation to try to restore democracy.

The group, which controls West Africa's common currency, is considering whether to impose additional sanctions.

The United States, France and the European Union have already halted non-humanitarian aid to Mali in response to the coup.

The African Union has already suspended Mali, and the United Nations, the United States and other countries have called for a return to constitutional order.

The mutinous soldiers seized power last Thursday from President Amadou Toumani Touré.

Mr. Touré was due to step down in the coming weeks after serving two terms. A presidential election had been scheduled for late April.

The mutinous soldiers say they took power to launch a more effective response to an ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the north.