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African Union denounces Mali ex-junta's 'interference'

By AFP

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - African leaders on Saturday called on Mali's ex-junta to stop meddling in the country's affairs as the interim government struggles to deal with Islamist militants holding the north.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) called for the "effective dissolution" of Mali's former junta and an end to "unacceptable interference" in the transitional process.

Leaders behind the March military coup are supposed to have stepped down from power to let the transition for a return to democracy to get underway.

Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra briefed reporters on the conclusions of the PSC.

The Council wanted "an end to the unacceptable interference by the military junta and its civilian supporters in the transitional process and the effective dissolution" of the former junta, he said.

The African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS were readying sanctions on those hampering the transition and a list of the individuals was being drawn up, Lamamra added.

There was "grave concern over the situation in northern Mali, where armed groups have strengthened their grip on the region," he added.

He underlined what he said was the "worrying" presence of foreign armed groups such as such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Boko Haram, an Islamist group based in Nigeria, there.

Mali's territorial integrity was not up for discussion, Lamamra said, underscoring "Africa's determination to spare no effort to preserve it."

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