U.S. stops all but food aid to Mali af­ter ap­par­ent coup

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY BRADLEY KLAP­PER

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion Mon­day cut off Amer­i­can aid to the gov­ern­ment of Mali af­ter last week’s coup by sol­diers, say­ing mil­i­tary and other as­sis­tance would only re­sume when the African coun­try’s demo­cratic gov­ern­ment is re­stored.

State Depart­ment spokes­woman Vic­to­ria Nu­land said U.S. hu­man­i­tar­ian and food as­sis­tance will con­tinue for Mali’s im­pov­er­ished cit­i­zens. But she said mil­i­tary and other pro­grams have been sus­pended.

“This is an un­ac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion where democ­racy is be­ing un­der­mined in Africa, and it’s got to be re­stored,” Ms. Nu­land told re­porters.

The U. S. pro­vides about $140 mil­lion in an­nual as­sis­tance to the African coun­try, and Ms. Nu­land said al­most half of that to­tal could be af­fected by the ac­tion.

Sol­diers in Mali, led by a mid­dle-rank­ing U.s.-trained of­fi­cer, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, sur­rounded the pres­i­den­tial palace Wed­nes­day and an­nounced they were tak­ing power in the West African coun­try.

Mali had sched­uled elec­tions in April. Malian Pres­i­dent Amadou Toumani Toure had planned to step down af­ter this term, but he has not been heard from since the coup.

Mali had long been held up as an African ex­am­ple of a thriv­ing democ­racy. But sol­diers said they were over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment be­cause it had mis­han­dled an eth­nic in­sur­gency in the north of the coun­try.

Ms. Nu­land said the U.S. hasn’t de­ter­mined that a coup has taken place, in­stead re­fer­ring to it as a “mutiny.”

Un­der U.S. law, all non-hu­man­i­tar­ian aid must be sus­pended if the ad­min­is­tra­tion finds that a mil­i­tary coup has over­thrown a demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment. Such a dec­la­ra­tion also re­quires a se­ries of steps — such as new elec­tions — be­fore mil­i­tary and other as­sis­tance pro­grams can be re­sumed.

By stop­ping short of call­ing it a coup, the ad­min­is­tra­tion can more quickly respond if Mr. Toure’s gov­ern­ment re­turns to power. One ma­jor pro­gram the U.S. doesn’t want to jeop­ar­dize in­volves fund­ing to help Mali or­ga­nize its planned elec­tions next month.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion is hop­ing West African me­di­a­tors can de­liver a speedy res­o­lu­tion to the cri­sis.

Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton spoke by tele­phone Mon­day with Ivory Coast Pres­i­dent Alas­sane Ou­at­tara, ro­tat­ing head of the West African body try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a set­tle­ment. U.S. of­fi­cials are also in dis­cus­sions with the coup leader Capt. Sanogo, Ms. Nu­land said.

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