Canada Decries Worsening Mali Crisis

April 5, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Mali is now largely split by rebellion in the north and hobbled by a leadership vacuum in the capital.

“Canada is very concerned by reports that Salafist rebels have violently imposed Sharia law in Timbuktu—against the wishes of much of the population. In Gao, essentials—including water—are running short.

“We again call on coup leaders to immediately step aside and allow democracy and greater stability to return to Mali. The current political upheaval in Bamako is giving rebels greater influence and spreading misery for the average Malian.

“Canada continues to work with regional and international partners on solutions to this crisis. We are exploring new measures alongside our partners to pressure the coup leaders to withdraw."

The security situation in Bamako remains highly unpredictable. Sanctions, which were imposed by the Economic Community of West African States on April 2, 2012, may lead to border closures with neighbouring countries on short notice.

Canadians in Mali should leave now by commercial means while these are available. Canadians who remain in the country despite this warning should be aware that, in the event of further deterioration of the security situation, the Canadian embassy’s services and ability to provide consular assistance may be limited.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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