News

EU Condemns Mali Coup

General view over the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster after Malian soldiers announced a coup d'etat, in the capital Bamako, March 22, 2012.
General view over the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster after Malian soldiers announced a coup d'etat, in the capital Bamako, March 22, 2012.

The European Union has called for constitutional rule to return to Mali "as soon as possible" following an apparent coup d’etat by mutinous soldiers. The EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the mutiny Thursday. 

"We condemn the coup d'etat that seems to have happened in Bamako and the suspension of the Republican Institutions in the country," said Michael Mann, the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Ashton. "And we are calling for the constitutional order to be re-established as soon as possible and that there should be democratic elections very soon as well."

Elections were due to take place in Mali at the end of next month. President Amadou Toumani Toure, whose whereabouts are currently unclear, had already pledged to stand down.

Mann says the president’s apparent ousting has come as a surprise in Europe.

"We weren't aware of it," he said. "Obviously there is a tricky period in Mali at the moment and there is the rebellion going on in the north and there is violence but we certainly hadn't seen this coming. And we're just calling on all parties to make sure that human life is respected."

Rebels from the Tuareg ethnic group have been attacking towns in northern Mali since January. The rebellion gained impetus after soldiers and weapons returning from Libya, where they fought on behalf of Moammar Gadhafi, returned to Mali.

The renegade soldiers, who have taken over the presidential palace, said in a televised statement that they had ousted Toure because of his government’s “inability” to put down the Tuareg rebellion.

The group, calling itself the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State, says the constitution is suspended and democratic institutions dissolved. It says it will hand power back to a democratically elected president when the country’s “integrity” is no longer at threat.

Mann says the EU has a delegation on the ground in contact with officials and diplomats but, he says, the situation is chaotic and moving quickly.

"We are following events minute by minute but I can't tell you now exactly where we are with that because things are moving very fast," he said. "But we will actually have a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers tomorrow in Brussels and that will obviously be a hot topic to see what solid concrete action we can take."

The French government says it is suspending cooperation with its former colony and urged that President Toure not be harmed.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for calm and said grievances should be settled democratically.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs