UN, AU reject Mali rebel attempts

2012-06-14 12:55 New York - The UN Security Council and the African Union on Wednesday categorically rejected rebel attempts to divide Mali and called for Guinea-Bissau's military rulers who seized power in a coup to step down.

In a joint communiqué at the end a closed meeting, the UN's most powerful body and the AU's Peace and Security Council condemned the recent unconstitutional changes of power in the West African nations and reiterated their commitment to strengthen democracy, peace and stability in Africa.

The two organisations also expressed concern at the serious threat to international peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel from illicit weapons and drug trafficking, and piracy - and from the presence of armed groups and terrorist groups in the Sahel.

In March, a junta-led coup toppled Mali's democratically elected government and rebels overran the north and declared independence.

The UN and AU urged implementation of an April 6 agreement between the west African regional group Ecowas and the perpetrators of the coup to restore constitutional order in Mali and demanded an end to hostilities in the north by rebel groups.

They acknowledged - without supporting - efforts by Ecowas "to explore options to restore peace and security in Mali in the context of upholding Mali's territorial integrity".

In Guinea-Bissau, the UN and AU strongly condemned the April 12 coup and underlined "the urgent need to continue to strengthen measures to restore and respect constitutional order".

It said this must include "a democratic electoral process, and that members of the 'military command' relinquish their position of authority".

- AP