US suspends aid to Madagascar following change of gov't

The United States on Friday suspended millions of dollars in aid to the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar, saying the change of government there this week was unconstitutional. The State Department said the Obama administration would cut all non-humanitarian assistance to the country because the ouster of President Marc Ravalomanana, who resigned after weeks of protests and handed power to the military, was "tantamount to a coup d'etat." "The United States will not maintain our current assistance partnership with Madagascar," department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. The State Department and the US Agency for International Development could not provide the exact amount of aid to be suspended was not immediately clear, but Madagascar participates in several US programs with several different agencies under which it receives significant development assistance.