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Mauritania Military Regime Scoffs at African Union Ultimatum

Mauritania's military regime has dismissed as illogical and unrealistic demands by the African Union for the re-installation next week of deposed President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Coup leader General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz reportedly said the African Union's ultimatum is neither constructive nor positive and would not be in Mauritania's interest. The African Union gave the military junta a deadline of October 6 to restore constitutional order and reinstate Abdallahi, the country's first democratically elected president.

The United States and the European Union have unanimously condemned the coup and demanded the country's return to constitutional rule. Kabiru Mato is a political science professor at Nigeria's University of Abuja. From Kaduna he tells reporter Peter Clottey that there was a need for the international community to commit to military intervention to restore democracy.

"It's virtually not possible for the military junta to want to willingly restore the civilian government that they overthrew. The only condition that you can get that actualized is when some major force is being dangled. If the African Union, for instance is able to organize or mobilize a strategic military power and it becomes very obvious to the military junta in Mauritania that some major force is going to be adopted, obviously they would think of reinstating the civilian president," Mato noted.

He said empty warnings and ultimatum would not be sufficient to put pressure on the military regime to give up power.

"Just as the level of political platitudes, it is not obviously going to be possible and it is not going to be realizable. And the African Union would continue to make such noises because apparently, it lacks the political machinery this time around I'm referring to military capability to really go to Mauritania and reinstate the overthrown president," he said.

Mato said it was important for the international community to back up its words with a lot of action.

"This is not the first time that the international organizations would always come out and make far reaching noise on matters like this. But what remains a reality actually is the capacity of the international organization to really use some major coercion in its drive to the actual realization for whatever it was trying to do. Both the United Nations and the African Union and whichever organization for that matter lacks the capacity to organize military action. It would be considered perhaps to be as an act of aggression if these international organizations should try to mobilize military formations with the view to restoring the overthrown the civilian government," Mato pointed out.

He said military regimes don't easily yield to verbal threats from the international community.

"Governments like these, especially military people taking over power have since come to the realization that it is a matter of perhaps political semantics on the part of international non-governmental organizations to continue call for restoration of and things like that without necessarily making any contingency plans with the strategic objective of in the event that the military junta would fail to adhere to the call can now be step and forcefully cause the reinstatement of the overthrown government," he said.

Mato described the military junta's actions as a flagrant disregard for any international rules.

"That is basically the position of coupists whenever they take over power. I tell you, any attempt to logically and politically negotiate their exit out of power by asking them to reinstate the other government that was overthrown I think to me sounds really apolitical. So, what's obvious here is that it is fundamental that if at all the international community is interested in having the president that was overthrown back on his feet then some major violence and force must be applied on the present ruling class in Mauritania," Mato noted.