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» 01.02.2011 - New AU leader Obiang calls criticism un-African
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Africa | Mauritania

Mauritanian junta rejects AU ultimatum

afrol News, 29 September - Mauritanian coup leader has rejected African Union ultimatum to reinstate ousted president Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi, saying it is not in the best interest of the country.

General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who led a coup in August this year said position of AU is neither constructive, nor positive, further stating that it does not serve greater interests of Mauritanian people.

Last week, AU gave Mauritanian government 6 October deadline to reinstate president or face serious sanctions.

"It's unrealistic and illogical," junta leader said. "He is a former president. We cannot return to the past," he said.

Mr Abdallahi, who was ousted from power in West African country on 6 August, has been under house arrest since the coup. His prime minister, Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf, was re-arrested on 22 August and also placed under house arrest.

A number of western powers including US and France have refused to recognise military government, denouncing it as illegitimate.

Mauritanian junta has been under immense pressure from AU, United Nations and international community to reinstate deposed president, threatening sanctions and isolation.

Political science professor at Nigeria's University of Abuja, Kabiru Mato said there was a need for international community to commit to military intervention to restore democracy, saying empty warnings and ultimatum would not be sufficient to put pressure on military regime to give up power.

Since a coup in August, al-Qaeda has threatened to stage attacks against coup. However, Mr Aziz said the junta was currently addressing country's terrorism threat, after an al-Qaeda-claimed attack on a military patrol on 14 September.

"We are determined to tackle terrorism, to defend our country with force and bring peace and security to the people. The army does not have means to tackle the barbaric and unjustifiable attacks that it has suffered," he said.

Mr Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi who was country's first democratically-elected president, has been under house arrest ever since.

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