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UN Security Council slams mutiny in Mali, demands release of detained officials

03-23-2012 10:06 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned the action of mutinous soldiers seizing power by force in Mali, and demanded the release of all detained officials including some government ministers arrested during the military coup.

The condemnation was contained in a statement read to the press here by Mark Lyall Grant, British UN ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for March, after the 15- nation UN body met behind closed doors to hear a briefing of the current situation in Mali.

"The members of the Security Council strongly condemn the forcible seizure of power from the democratically elected government of Mali by some elements of the Malian armed forces," the statement said. "They call on these elements to ensure the safety and security of President Amadou Toumani Toure and to return to their barracks."

The council members "demand the release of all detained Malian officials," said the statement, adding "The members of the Security Council call for the immediate restoration of constitutional law and the democratically elected government."

Mutinous soldiers have seized power in Mali after storming the presidential palace and arresting some of the government ministers, a spokesman for the mutinous soldiers said on Thursday.

The National Committee for Redressment of Democracy and Restoration of the State (CNRDR) announced through Malian radio and television at 4:40 a.m. local time on Thursday that they had toppled Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure.

"They also call for the preservation of the electoral process as previously scheduled," the statement added. "The members of the Security Council urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence, and remain calm."

"The members of the Security Council welcome efforts by UNOWA (the United Nations Office in West Africa) and international partners especially the African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and further express their intention to continue to follow closely the evolution of the situation in Mali," the statement said.

"The members of the Security Council emphasize the need to uphold and respect the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Mali," the statement noted.

Earlier on Thursday, B. Lynn Pascoe, UN under-secretary- general for political affairs, told reporters after he briefing the council on Mali, that the United Nations has significant concerns about the situation in Mali, where the president has been overthrown.

"Clearly a coup d'etat has been carried out," Pascoe said. " Our concerns about this issue are very strong. They should return to a constitutional order as quickly as possible."

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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