US suspends $13m in aid to Mali
05 April 2012, 10:31
Washington - The United States is suspending at
least $13m of its roughly $140m in annual aid to Mali following last
month's coup in the West African nation, the State Department said on
The suspension affects US assistance for Mali's
ministry of health, public school construction and the government's
efforts to boost agricultural production.
The United States,
which sees Mali as an important partner in regional efforts to combat
Islamic extremism, has warned that Mali's political crisis was putting
the territorial integrity of the country at risk.
US law bars aid "to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree".
United States announced the suspension of some aid to Mali a day after
calling again on coup leaders to immediately return power to civilian
"The rest of the assistance will continue but
anything that was directly going into the government programmes and
ministries has to be suspended," State Department spokesperson Mark
Toner told reporters.
Once one of the most stable democracies in
West Africa, Mali has been in turmoil since the widely condemned March
22 coup that emboldened Tuareg rebels to seize half the country in their
quest for a northern homeland.
They have been joined by
Islamists bent on imposing sharia, Islamic law, across the whole of the
moderate Muslim state, making it the latest security concern in a region
battling al-Qaeda agents and home-grown militant groups such as
Nigeria's Boko Haram.
Mali's military rulers on Wednesday
postponed a national convention to end a crisis sparked by the coup,
which has led to international isolation and allowed the rebels to seize
control of the northern half of the country.