, SIRTE, July 1 – The African Union on Wednesday ended Mauritania’s suspension from the continental grouping, after the naming of a transitional government to steer the country toward elections in July.
The AU Peace and Security Council in a statement praised "the return to constitutional order" in Mauritania.
In its statement, the council hailed the creation of the transitional government but said it awaited "with interest the presidential election whose first round is set for July 18, 2009."
It also "asks that efforts are undertaken to ensure that the election unfolds with the transparency, fairness and freedom required."
The Council also tasked the head of the AU Commission Jean Ping with updating members "on the situation’s progress, in order to allow the Council to take any necessary decision, including the imposition of sanctions in the event of conditions necessitating them."
The decision came after a transitional government was named Friday to lead Mauritania into presidential elections on July 18 under the terms of an internationally brokered pact.
Some countries including Nigeria had opposed the move, arguing that Mauritania’s suspension should remain in place until after the presidential elections.
Ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi signed the decree appointing the transitional government on Friday and then officially resigned his office. The transistional government then endorsed the internationally brokered pact over the weekend and called the presidential election for July 18.