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Africa | Mauritania
Politics | Human rights

AU imposes sanctions on Mauritania

afrol News, 5 February - The African Union has finally imposed sanctions on Mauritanian junta and civilians following the military coup in August 2008. The AU has since September threatened the junta with isolation if it does not return to democratic rule and reinstate the ousted president Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi.

The AU's Peace and Security Council president Manuel Domingos Augustos announced today that the proposed sanctions would be effected immediately, urging all member states to ensure the implementation of the resolution.

"The council asks the Commission to take the necessary measures to implement these sanctions and to update it regularly and also calls on all member states to scrupulously implement the present decision," he said.

General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who led a coup in August said the issue of AU to reinstate the ousted president was not constructive and further said it was not serving the greater interests of Mauritanian people.

In September, AU gave the Mauritanian government the 6 October deadline to reinstate its president or face serious sanctions, but instead the junta had shown progress to hold democratic elections and elect a new president.

A number of western powers including US and France have refused to recognise the military government, denouncing it as illegitimate.

The Mauritanian junta has been under immense pressure from AU, United Nations and international community to reinstate deposed president, threatening sanctions and isolation.

Since the coup in August, the al-Qaeda group has also threatened to stage attacks against the coup plotters. However, Mr Aziz said the junta was currently addressing country's terrorism threat, after an al-Qaeda-claimed attack on a military patrol in September.

Mr Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi who was the country's first democratically-elected president, was under house arrest until he was freed late last year with mounting international pressure for his reinstatement and return of the country to constitutionality.

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