African Union Suspends Mali, Threatens Sanctions Over Coup

The African Union suspended Mali after the second coup in nine months and threatened to impose sanctions if there are any further delays to the nation’s return to democratic rule.

The continental body suspended Mali from participation in all activities of the African Union, its organs and institutions until constitutional order has been restored, its Peace and Security Council said in a statement late Tuesday.

If the military delays handing back power to civilian transitional leaders, “the council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures,” it said.

Any financial sanctions risk restricting gold exports, which make up about two-thirds of Mali’s export revenue, and could further destabilize the West African country, which is seen as linchpin in an international fight against Islamist insurgents in West Africa’s Sahel region.

The U.S. last month suspended all military cooperation with Mali after Colonel Assimi Goita ordered the arrest of interim President Bah N’Daw and interim Prime Minister Moctar Ouane. N’Daw and Ouane were forced to resign while in military detention and Goita was named interim President.

The AU suspension comes after West African leaders suspended Mali from the Economic Community of West African States on May 30.

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