The United States on Wednesday “strongly condemned” the detention of civilian leaders of Mali’s transition government, and announced that it was suspending security assistance for the country’s Security and Defense Forces.
“We are now suspending security assistance that benefits the Malian Security and Defense Forces that we had continued previously pursuant to available authorities,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
The United States will also consider targeted measures against political and military leaders who impede Mali’s civilian-led transition to democratic governance,” Price added.
Following the August 2020 coup d’etat in Mali, the United States restricted assistance to the Government of Mali in accordance with provisions of the annual appropriations acts.
Today’s actions come just two days after transition government leaders were arrested and detained by the military, triggering condemnation across Africa and the world.
Price said the United States supports the May 24 joint statement of ECOWAS and the African Union, and is working closely with the local transition monitoring committee and other international actors to seek “the immediate and unconditional release of those detained and resumption of the civilian-led transition,” adding that “a democratic, civilian-led government presents the best opportunity to achieve security and prosperity in Mali and the wider Sahel region.”
“The Malian transition government’s commitment to a civilian-led transition and democratic elections in 2022 set the stage for Mali’s continued engagement with international partners to advance democracy, human rights, peace, and security efforts. The events of May 24 put that progress at risk,” the government said.
It said the U.S. stands “with the people of Mali in their aspirations to achieve democracy, peace, development, and respect for human rights.”