News / Africa

US Says Mali and Guinea Bissau Must Return to Civilian Rule

A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport, Mali. (VOA - N. Palus)A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport, Mali. (VOA - N. Palus)
x
A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport, Mali. (VOA - N. Palus)
A national guard soldier walks by demonstrators at Bamako airport, Mali. (VOA - N. Palus)
STATE DEPARTMENT - The Obama administration says leaders of military coups in Mali and Guinea Bissau must agree to West African demands to return their countries to democratic rule.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says the March military coup in Mali is a glaring exception to democratic progress in Africa.

"Twenty-one years of democratic governance was swept aside by a few mutinous soldiers who seem more concerned about their own welfare than that of the people or the nation they were supposed to be serving," said Carson. "Their action has imperiled Mali's territorial integrity, allowed rebels to take over half of the country, set back the country's economic development, and reduced the government's capacity to respond to drought conditions in the north."

Tuareg separatists in northern Mali expanded territory under their control following the collapse of the government in Bamako. Coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo last month agreed to a regional plan for a transitional government. But he continues to hold considerable power and rejects calls for elections within 12 months.

Carson says a strong regional response by the Economic Community of West African States makes clear that what he calls "this military misadventure" has no future, and the United States fully supports ECOWAS mediation to help Mali return to democratic rule.

"A short-term transitional government that leads directly to free and fair presidential elections so that Mali can move forward with re-establishing its tradition of democratic governance is required," he said. "The military must step aside completely. Those who have illegally seized power in Mali have no right to remain in power and no strength to address the serious security and humanitarian issues that Mali faces today."

In a conference call with African reporters, Carson also said he is deeply concerned about Guinea Bissau, not only because of last month's coup but also by the country's military leaders' continued exercise of authority behind the scenes.

"With ECOWAS in the lead, the states in the region should work with the community of Portuguese-language countries and other international partners to restore democracy to that country. In democracies, the military has no role to play in governance," said Carson.

Regional power Nigeria says it is ready to send troops to both Guinea-Bissau and Mali. Following a meeting of defense chiefs from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Liberia and Gambia, ECOWAS civilian officials must now authorize those deployments.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid