UN, AU Condemn ‘Unconstitutional Changes’ in West Africa

Posted June 14th, 2012 at 1:00 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Security Council and African Union Peace and Security Council have urged military coup leaders in Guinea Bissau to give up power and expressed concern at the presence of Islamist militants in coup-stricken Mali.

Following talks Wednesday in New York, the two councils agreed on a statement condemning “the recent instances of unconstitutional changes in West Africa” and reiterating their commitment to strengthening democracy, peace and stability in Africa.

The statement also expressed concern at the threat of transnational organized crime, including illicit weapons and drug trafficking, piracy, and armed robbery at sea, particularly in West Africa and the Sahel region.

But it held back support for a regional intervention force in Mali, which was overtaken by Tuareg rebels and Islamist militants following a March coup that ousted the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure.

The African Union has called for the U.N. Security Council to support a proposed West African intervention force. But the statement Wednesday only “took note” of the calls, saying it would “examine proposals for future appropriate steps to assist ECOWAS in its efforts.”

The U.N. and A.U. also renewed their condemnation of the April coup in Guinea Bissau. The statement underlined “an urgent need” to restore constitutional order. It said this must include a “democratic electoral process, and that members of the 'military command' relinquish their position of authority.

The two sides also expressed concern at the ongoing violence in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where government forces are fighting rebels.

Regarding Somalia, the statement said the country's transitional government should “redouble” efforts to set up a special assembly to adopt a new constitution by an August deadline.