The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the kidnapping and assassinations of two French journalists in northern Mali, and called on the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Armed gunmen reportedly abducted the two journalists from Radio France Internationale (RFI) on Saturday in Kidal.
In astatement late last night to the media, the 15-member Council expressed its condolences to the family of the victims, as well as to the French Government.
"In accordance with international humanitarian law, journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are generally considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such," the statement reiterated.
The Council members demanded that "all parties to an armed conflict comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian law, including as related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict."
They called on the Government of Mali to "swiftly investigate the case" and to hold those responsible to account.
In its statement, the Council also reaffirmed that any acts of terrorism are "criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed".
The Members also reiterated their full support to the UN Mission in Mali and the French forces, and called on all parties to cooperate fully with the Mission.
The Security Council set up the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in April to support the West African country's recovery from a coup and the occupation of its north by Islamist fundamentalists, its transition back to stability and democratic governance, and the promotion of human rights and provision of humanitarian aid.