WASHINGTON (AFP) — The release of Mauritania's ousted president Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi "falls far short" of US and international community demands, the US State Department said Monday, calling on the military junta to step aside.
The junta that forced Abdallahi from power released him Sunday from house arrest.
"The mere release of the elected president, under conditions that are yet to be determined, falls far short of the demands of the US and the rest of the international community," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
"The US reaffirms its call that the military junta step aside so President Abdallahi can resume his functions as president and Mauritania be returned to legitimate, democratic and constitutional rule."
Abdallahi told AFP by telephone that he would not take part in consultations on Mauritania's future organized by the junta this week, and would instead work to oust the junta.
"I have absolutely no interest in the days of consultation promoted by the military, nor with the elections that they are organizing," said Abdallahi, speaking from his native village of Lemden, 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Nouakchott.
"I have come to work in the interests of my country, I did it when it was possible to do so. I will continue to do it to bring down the putsch."
Earlier this month, the country's prime minister announced that meetings to set a date for a presidential election would be held starting December 27.
Elected in March 2007 after 30 years of military rule, Abdallahi was ousted in the August 6 coup, hours after he issued a decree firing the military's top brass.
Coup leader General Ould Abdel Aziz bowed to international pressure and released Abdallahi Sunday ahead of the December 27 meeting.