Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet canceled a planned visit to Mauritania amid moves by Western powers to isolate the military junta that seized control of the country on Oct. 6.
French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet had proposed visiting the Saharan Islamic state on Saturday on his way back to
Joyandet's trip was conceived as part of efforts to try to break the diplomatic deadlock between
"We will not be coming to
Military chiefs led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz overthrew President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, the iron ore mining nation's first freely-elected leader, when he tried to sack them during a power struggle with parliament.
Opponents accused Abdallahi of overstepping his authority as president and failing to tackle pressing problems like surging food prices and al Qaeda attacks. The military junta has kept him under house arrest since the coup.
The EU wants
At the talks earlier this week in
"It is in order to meet him -- but not to meet him in prison," Chevallier had said on Tuesday. "We want the president to be freed. It's hard to imagine a ministerial-level visit to a country where the legitimate president is still imprisoned."
Western donors have moved to isolate the military junta. The
But a significant proportion of
Mohamed Aly Cherif, a member of parliament who supports the junta, played down the importance of Joyandet's decision.
"We hope he will come soon. It's sure to be a question of timing.
The EU dismissed proposals from the junta's delegation to the
Date created : 2008-10-24