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US Condemns Mali Violence

Protesters on a street in Bamako, Mali, May 21, 2012 (AP).
Protesters on a street in Bamako, Mali, May 21, 2012 (AP).
The United States has strongly condemned this week's violence in Mali and called on coup leader Amadou Sanogo and his allies to stand aside and allow for the restoration of civilian rule.

State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Friday that the U.S. calls on Mali's soldiers to return to their roles as defenders of the constitution. She said U.S. will "remain alert" to any efforts, civilian or military, to deprive Mali's citizens of a speedy return to stable, democratic government.

She said the U.S. will pursue sanctions on those who attempt to undermine the process.

On Thursday, a Malian government spokesman said the transitional authority remains focused on organizing elections and resolving the Tuareg rebellion in the north, after the country's interim president was attacked earlier this week.

Hamadoune Toure said the government is committed to a deal between interim president Dioncounda Traore, coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to extend Mr. Traore's mandate for one year.

Members of the pro-junta political coalition, COPAM, said Wednesday they have chosen Captain Sanogo to replace Traore as head of the transition, but no public announcement has been made.

Traore traveled to Paris Wednesday to seek medical treatment. The interim leader was injured Monday when protesters overpowered guards at the presidential palace and attacked him in his office.

Traore's chief of staff, Issa Togo, said the interim president is fine and had returned to work Tuesday before traveling to France. He said Traore goes to Paris every year at this time for a medical checkup.
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