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Africa | Mauritania

Gaddafi to contest Mauritania sanctions

afrol News, 30 March - Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi is poised the challenge the African Union Security Council ruling that maintains the sanctions targeted to the Mauritanian ruling junta and its citizens after the 2008 coup in the west African state. The Council's action came days after Mr Gaddafi met coup leaders and announced he would have the sanctions removed.

Colonel Gaddafi who took the rotating chair of the continental organisation said sanctions cannot be implemented unless they are endorsed by the summit saying even if the AU’s Peace and Security Council has intentions to extend them.

The AU imposed sanctions on Mauritanian last month after a military coup that ousted the democratically elected President Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi.

Col Gaddafi said although the AU stance remains clear on Mauritania, the continental body should consider the new government in Mauritarian. "The way they seized power was unconstitutional and there was some protests, but now they are there," he said.

He said Mauritanian leadership should be accepted, and further urged African states to advocate for peaceful and fair elections scheduled for June this year.

Mr Gaddafi whose mediation of the political crisis in Mauritania has been criticised by opponents as biased, said the Mauritanian people will have a final say on the coup and find ways to resolve their problems.

"Now what we are trying to do is to monitor and supervise the election on the sixth of June to make sure that they are fair and going the right way,” he said.

However, the Council Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said the question of differing interpretations will be left to lawyers to decide. "There are some questions to be asked to the council’s legal adviser,” the commissioner said.

In September, AU gave the Mauritanian government the 6 October deadline to reinstate its president or face serious sanctions, but the junta had ignored the call and instead shown progress to hold fresh elections and elect a new president.

Political progress in Mauritania has been deadlocked since the military seized power, with little expected even from the holding of fresh elections in June, according to political observers.

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