Page last updated at 08:30 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 09:30 UK

Wade rejects Mauritania sanctions

Maj-Gen Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz (file)
Coup leader Gen Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz has promised elections soon

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has said he opposes the idea of putting sanctions on Mauritania's coup leaders.

In doing this, he has broken ranks with other African leaders, says BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross.

The European Union this week gave Mauritania a one-month deadline to bring back constitutional rule.

The US last week imposed a travel ban on those who seized power from Mauritania's first democratically elected government in August.

President Wade said he preferred personal mediation to sanctions.

"They never touch the leaders," he said, adding that while a leader could easily evade sanctions, it was the population that would feel their impact.

The military leaders justified their action saying the deposed president had failed to tackle economic and security challenges.

Our correspondent says the coup is widely popular with the members of the National Assembly and the Senate.

President Wade suggested this needed to be taken into account.

The EU is due to continue talks with the leaders who overthrew Mauritania's first democratically elected President, Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, pressuring them to release him from house arrest.

Non-humanitarian aid has already been suspended.

The African Union suspended Mauritania's membership shortly after the coup and had threatened to impose further sanctions if Mr Abdallahi was not freed before 6 October.

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