United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today discussed the ongoing crisis in Mali in a meeting with Germany's top foreign affairs official, stressing the need to find a political solution to the conflict.
During his meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, Mr. Ban highlighted the importance of redoubling efforts to find a political solution in the northern part of the country.
Separately, in a meeting on Tuesday with the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ayodeji Ashiru, the UN chief focused on regional efforts to address the crisis.
Mali has been dealing with a range of security, political and humanitarian problems since the start of the year. Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the country's north in January. Since then, radical Islamists have seized control of the north, where they have imposed an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law as well as restrictions that target women in particular.
The violence has forced thousands to flee their homes. Last week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are at least 203,845 internally displaced persons in the land-locked West African country.
Mr. Ban also touched on other issues during his two meetings. He thanked Mr. Westerwelle for Germany's generous contribution to humanitarian activities inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, stressing the dire humanitarian consequences resulting from heavy fighting in recent weeks, and thanked Mr. Ashiru for Nigeria's contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the Sudanese region of Darfur.