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President Jonathan release statement regarding Military Coup in Mali: He wants deposed Malian Government reinstated

ABUJA (AFP) – The military coup in Mali on Thursday sparked wide international condemnation and calls for reinstatement of the elected government of President Amadou Tomani Toure.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday’s military coup in Mali was “an apparent setback to the consolidation of democracy” and urged reinstatement of the deposed government.

In a presidential statement in Abuja, Jonathan asked the regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community not to recognise the military usurpers.

“The coup plotters have only embarked on a fruitless mission of supplanting a constitutional government by other means which goes against the current global grain of constitutionalism,” he said.

The Nigerian leader demanded an immediate reinstatement of the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was forced to flee his palace during the overnight coup.

He urged the coup plotters to allow the ongoing democratic process in the country to run its full course and not to do anything that would truncate the electoral process, especially the presidential election slated for next month.

Jonathan, who was elected into office last April, said his government “would never recognise any unconstitutional regime.”

What began as a mutiny over the government’s response to the rekindled Tuareg insurrection in the north on Wednesday afternoon turned into a full-blown coup as soldiers seized control of the presidential palace and the official broadcaster.

Coup plotters, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, went on television early Thursday to announce they had taken over power in the west African country.

Toure’s regime came under increasing pressure in recent weeks as the ongoing Al-Qaeda scourge was compounded by an insurrection of the nomadic Tuareg tribe in the north which has forced over 200,000 people to flee their homes.

The African Union, the European Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and individual countries in Africa and elsewhere deplored Toure’s ousting five weeks ahead of planned elections.

Rebel soldiers calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy seized control of the capital overnight because of the government’s “inability” to tackle terrorism and put down a Tuareg-led insurrection in the north.

On Thursday, the junta said it was closing all of the country’s borders, apparently stranding Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula and other senior foreign officials who were in Bamako for an African Union meeting on peace and security.

“The chairperson of the (AU) Commission strongly condemns this act of rebellion, which seriously undermines constitutional legality and constitutes a significant setback for Mali,” the pan-African body said in a statement.

Commission chief Jean Ping urged “the mutineers immediately to put an end to their action.”

“This rebellion has no justification whatsoever, more so given the existence, in Mali, of democratic institutions which provide a framework for free expression and for addressing any legitimate claims,” he said.

The soldiers fought their way into the presidential palace and forced Toure to flee, claiming on television to have ousted an “incompetent regime” and dissolved state institutions.

France, the former colonial power, said it was suspending cooperation with the West African desert nation and urged the rebels not to harm Toure.

“We demand the return to the constitutional order, elections; they had been programmed for April, they must take place as soon as possible to allow the Malian people to express themselves,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, “I condemn the apparent coup d’etat in Bamako and the suspension of the republican institutions of Mali.”

“I call for the reestablishment of the constitutional order and the holding of democratic elections as soon as possible,” she said.

“In this crucial period for Mali, marked by a rebellion in the North, I call on all parties to show responsibility to ensure respect for human life, fundamental freedoms and the integrity of the country,” Ashton added.

“The United States strongly condemns the violence initiated by elements of the armed forces of Mali,” the White House said in a statement.

“We stand with the legitimately elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. Mali is a leading democracy in West Africa and its institutions must be respected,” the US State Department added.

The OIC’s chief, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, expressed “extreme shock” at the coup and called on the rebels “to respect democracy and enable the Malian people… to express its free will,” according to a statement.

South Africa closed its embassy in Bamako, saying it “condemns any attempt to seize power through the use of force.”

“We reiterate our conviction that no party should come to power through unlawful means,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“It is our desire that the mutiny is addressed in a manner that does not jeopardise the overall security situation in Mali. This is particularly important in view of the security challenges in the north,” it
Culled from Vanguard

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