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AU condemns overthrow, suspends Egypt

The African Union has condemned the military overthrow of Egypt's elected president, Mohammed Morsi, and suspended Egypt's participation in the bloc.

The African Union suspended Egypt from participation in AU activities on Friday, demanding the restitution of constitutional order.

The AU cited its strict rules against unconstitutional change and said Wednesday's removal of President Morsi amounted to an "illegal seizure of power" by Egypt's army.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where the AU has its headquarters, that Egypt's AU membership would remain suspended "until there is an election."

'Unconstitutional,' says AU

A statement issued by the AU after a meeting of its Peace and Security Council said: "The overthrow of the democratically elected president does not conform to the relevant provisions of Egypt's constitution, and therefore falls under the definition of an unconstitutional change of government."

It is not the first time the AU has suspended members, saying its rule against unconstitutional changes had been broken. In March, membership of the Central African Republic was suspended after rebels seized power. Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau remain suspended.

On Friday, Egypt's ambassador to the AU, Mohamed Edress, said Egypt wanted to retain its membership and "continue to take part in this family."

ipj/mz(AP, AFP, Reuters)