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Countries, blocs urge Mali junta to hand over power (3)

(Xinhua)

16:24, March 28, 2012

"The Security Council calls for national authorities, and international, regional, and sub-regional organizations, to take urgent steps to further their concerted efforts to address these challenges in an effective and appropriate manner," said the statement.

The United States on Monday suspended some aid to Mali, reiterating its call for the restoration of the elected government.

"We have now taken the decision to suspend our assistance to the government of Mali pending a resolution of the situation on the ground," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"We want to see the elected government restored as quickly as possible," she told a regular news briefing.

France's Foreign Ministry on Monday reiterated its condemnation of the military coup and the overthrow of constitutional order in the western African country.

Spokesman Bernard Valero said France was in contact with all international partners regarding the situation in Mali, in particular ECOWAS and the AU, "whose efforts to ensure the restoration of constitutional order in Mali we support."

He also expressed concerns about the members of President Amadou Toure's government who were arrested during the night of March 21 to 22, and have begun a hunger strike.

Said Djinnit, the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, traveled to Bamako, capital of Mali, and met with Mali junta leaders last Friday in a joint mission with ECOWAS and the AU, calling for an immediate return to constitutional order in the country and urging the junta leaders to guarantee the physical safety of Toure, as well as that of the other people detained.

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