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US Suspends Aid To Mali

The United States has decided to suspend its assistance to the government of Mali, "pending a resolution of the situation on the ground."

"We want to see the elected government restored as quickly as possible so that we can get to the elections, which are scheduled to go forward shortly," U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at a routine press briefing on Monday.

However, suspension of aid will not affect humanitarian and food assistance being provided by USAID to those displaced by the conflict in the north and those affected by the region's food crisis. "The rest of our government-to-government assistance will be suspended," she told reporters.

Nuland said "a little more than half of our $140 million is food assistance. So, between $60 to $70 million in assistance will be suspended."

Late last week, rebel soldiers took control of Mali, and announced the dissolution of the government led by President Amadou Toumani Toure.

The State Department said its understanding was that Toure was safe, being protected by some of his loyalists.

To a question if the decision to suspend the assistance was triggered by a military coup, Nuland replied that Washington was "still considering this a mutiny with uncertain results."

The Mali coup had prompted the European Union to suspend temporarily its development operations in that country.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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