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It's not too late to reverse Mali coup – US

2012-03-28 11:02

Washington - The United States said on Tuesday it "is not too late" for Mali's new military ruler Captain Amadou Sanogo to permit the return of civilian and democratic rule to the west African country.

"We have had at least one if not two contacts with the Captain Sanogo, and our basic message to him is unchanged," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"It's not too late to undo this, to allow the country to return to civilian rule, and to deal with the government and the grievances that you have in a peaceful, calm manner through dialogue," she said.

The message is also that "every day that you spend trying to run the country is a day that you are not spending keeping Mali safe and secure from the threats that it faces, particularly Aqim and the Tuareg," Nuland said.

Aqim is al-Qaeda in the Maghreb.

The coup leaders in Mali are facing condemnation at home and abroad for their ouster of President Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, launched in anger over the regime's handling of a northern Tuareg rebellion.

The African Union has suspended Mali as a result of the putsch, and the United States, Europe and Canada have frozen aid.

Tuareg rebels in the vast north of the country have exploited the disarray caused by the coup and pushed on with their fight for independence of what they say is their traditional homeland.

Mali's new military rulers launched a fresh appeal late Monday to Tuareg rebels advancing in the north of the country to halt their campaign and hold talks.