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US Imposes Travel Ban On Mali Coup Supporters

Persons and their immediate family members who block Mali's return to civilian rule and a democratically elected government have been barred from entering the United States.

The travel ban imposed by the State Department on Tuesday targets those who actively promote Captain Amadou Sanogo and the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy, who seized power from democratically elected President Amadou Toumani Toure on March 21.

The decision to impose visa restrictions follows and supports the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to impose similar sanctions, the State Department said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United States had reiterated its call on Captain Sanogo and his supporters to restore full civilian rule in Mali without delay.

The U.S. said it remained deeply concerned about the ongoing political crisis in the West African country. "Mali's territorial integrity is at stake, and its political institutions will be further weakened if Captain Amadou Sanogo and his supporters do not release their illegitimate grip on Mali and its people immediately," the statement warned.

Washington said it echoed the ECOWAS group's call to Captain Sanogo and his supporters to return power to the civilian leadership, consistent with Mali's Constitution.

At the same time, the United States urged all armed rebels in the country's north to cease military operations that compromise the Republic's territorial integrity, and exhorted all parties in the region to ensure the safety and security of Mali's northern populations. The U.S. also urged all armed rebels to engage in dialogue with the civilian leaders in Bamako to find a non-violent path forward for national elections and peaceful coexistence, once civilian leadership is restored in Mali.

ECOWAS and AU, the two major confederations representing African nations, have already enforced punitive measures on the current Mali regime. ECOWAS sanctions include closing of borders and suspension of flights, while AU imposed travel bans and various other sanctions.

Washington said it supported their efforts to pressure Captain Sanogo to relinquish power.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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