Francophone countries suspend Mali’s membership after coup

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The international body of French-speaking countries has suspended Mali’s membership in the wake of a coup last week.

The Permanent Council of the International Francophone Organization (OIF) decided to bar the West African country late Tuesday, a week after the coup toppled the government of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The OIF secretary, Abdou Diouf, announced this decision in a press release.

He stated that the La Francophonie, in close collaboration with international partners, is committed to promoting a return to constitutional order and effectively contributing to the restoration of peace and stability.

He noted that the OIF would in the coming days send a delegation to the capitol Bamako to further assess the situation.

The secretary further stated that the organization was committed to “maintaining the cooperation of actions directly benefiting the civilian populations, as well as those contributing to the restoration of democracy” and “the establishment of a transitional government led by a civil authority.”

The OIF, based in Paris, contains 88 member countries, 15 of which are French-speaking West African nations.

Following the coup, Colonel Assimi Goita declared himself president of the junta. He met with top civil officials in Bamako as he announced himself as head of the National Committee.

The military takeover has been condemned by France and the international community — including the UN Security Council, EU, African Union, and the US — demanding Keita’s release.

Keita stepped down after he and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were taken to a military camp last week.

Mali had been rocked by protests for several months as demonstrators called for the resignation of the president.

The UN has called for the “constitutional and democratic order” to be restored as soon as possible in the Western African country. It also urged for the release of Keita and other detainees, and “to protect their physical integrity as well as members of their families.”

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