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Countries, blocs urge Mali junta to hand over power

(Xinhua)

16:23, March 28, 2012

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Countries and blocs, including some in Africa, are urging Mali's military junta to return power to civilian rule and restore constitutional order in the country, as the junta announced the promulgation of a "new constitution."

Nigeria's Senate Tuesday asked the military junta in Mali to hand over power to President Amadou Toure.

The senate also called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations and other international bodies to impose sanctions on Mali, should the junta fail to hand over power immediately.

The senate condemned the attempt to forcefully change the democratically-elected government, demanding the development be treated as an insurrection rather than a coup.

Some Nigerian senators said Mali had been highly rated as an African example of a thriving democracy, and they expressed regrets that the country, which had been under civilian rule in the last 32 years, was now plunged into political crisis.

The Algerian government Monday issued a statement calling for an immediate return to constitutional legality in its neighboring country, saying it was "concerned about the stability of the region."

Dialogue represents "the only way for a peaceful solution" to the issue of northern Mali, it said.

It urged all parties in the country to end "actions that contribute to the exacerbation of the situation in northern Mali, or to increase the suffering of all peoples of Mali."

The 15-member West African bloc ECOWAS on Tuesday decided to suspend the membership of Mali to press the junta to return to constitutional order, according to regional officials.

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