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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Warning To Junta: ECOWAS Bans Mali Over Coup

The body representing nations in western Africa has suspended Mali and has put a peacekeeping force on standby in the most direct threat yet to the junta that seized control in a military coup last week.

Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast and chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said Mali's democracy cannot be abandoned.

A delegation of five African presidents will head to Mali in the next 48 hours to try to "restore constitutional order".

There was no immediate plan to deploy peacekeepers who will be put on standby in the event a military intervention is needed, said Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, ECOWAS president.

The US, European Union and France have cut off all but essential aid.

The coup took the region and the world by surprise. Mali has long been held up as one of the few established democracies in the troubled western corner of the continent. Late on Tuesday on state television, the newscaster announced Mali would soon be under a new constitution, indicating the coup leaders are moving forward with plans to create a new government.

The entire constitution will be read on state television later.

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