The AU efforts also resulted in the safe evacuation of the Tunisian Secretary of State for Arab and African Affairs, Mr. Abdallah Triki, who left Bamako for Tunis with a group of Tunisian nationals living and working in Mali.
The Kenyan, Zimbabwean and Tunisian senior diplomats, who had travelled to Mali to participate in the 314th Meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region, held in Bamako, on the 20th of March 2012, were stranded following the coup d’état which took place in Mali on Wednesday, the 21st of March 2012.
Once informed of the plight of these officials, the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, set-up a Crisis Management Team, which worked around the clock over the weekend to secure the safe evacuation of the diplomats and the Tunisian nationals. The Team worked closely with the Kenyan Permanent Representative to the African Union, H.E. Dr. Monica K. Juma.
Within that context, Chairperson Ping had telephone conversations with the leader of the new military junta in Mali, Captain Amadou Sanogo, who promised to ensure the security and safe evacuation of the officials, as requested by the Chairperson. Dr. Ping also enquired on the whereabouts and condition of Mali’s President, H.E. Mr. Amadou Toumani Touré and reiterated the need to ensure his safety and the immediate return of the country to constitutional legality, in accordance with the decision of the 315th Meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council.
The Chairperson also had several telephone conversations on the Malian crisis, with several stakeholders, including: H.E. Mr. Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin and Chairperson of the African Union, H.E. Mr. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire and Chairman of the Authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and H.E. Mr. Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission.
The Chairperson hereby expresses his relief at the safe evacuation of the diplomats and extends his appreciation to all parties involved in the negotiations which led to a peaceful and satisfactory denouement of the situation. He also extends his appreciation to the Governments of Kenya and Tunisia that provided aircraft for the evacuation exercise.