African Union defies Gaddafi, maintains sanctions on Mauritania
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Despite opposition from African Union chairman Muammar Gaddafi, the AU has decided to maintain sanctions on Mauritania that were imposed following a coup in August last year.
AFP - The African Union on Tuesday maintained sanctions against Mauritania's junta, in defiance of the pan-African body's chairman Moamer Kadhafi, an official told AFP.
The decision was made during a meeting at the headquarters of the organisation's Peace and Security Council.
"We have reiterated our decision on taking sanctions against unconstitutional changes of power and, concerning Mauritania, we have reaffirmed our intention to impose sanctions against those in power, whether civilian or military," said Benin's ambassador Edouard Aho-Glele, who chaired the meeting.
"The list of names of those targeted by the sanctions will be drawn up within a month" by the AU Commission, the organisation's top executive organ, he added.
On February 5, the African Union had decided to slap sanctions on the west African country following the coup by members of the military on August 6.
Kadhafi, who took the rotating chair of the continental organisation at the latest summit in February, had said during a visit to Nouakchott earlier this month that sanctions should be lifted.
"I have assured myself that the military authorities are determined to organise presidential elections on June 6, so this file is closed from now on," Kadhafi told reporters.
"The problem is over, the case is closed, because what is needed is the return to civil life," the Libyan leader said.
Kadhafi's stance on the issue of sanctions and de facto recognition of the Mauritanian junta had caused considerable unease within the African Union.
Aho-Glele said after Tuesday's meeting that the Peace and Security Council and the AU's chairman did not necessarily have to speak in one voice.
"The PSC is an organ which makes informed decisions and ensures their implementation," he told AFP. "Now at the AU level, president Kadhafi represents another organ and he has taken his own steps."
"He no doubt has undertaken a mediation whose outcome could clear the current regime. In that case and if the junta brings back constitutional order, there will be no sanctions. But we have not been informed of such a state of affairs for the moment," he added.
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