New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended the continued efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate the restoration of constitutional order in Mali, and called on the country's military junta to immediately implement the accord it signed on Friday with the regional bloc.
In a statement made available to PANA in New York on Sunday night, Ban also called on the junta ''to expeditiously implement the terms of the Framework Agreement which provides for the transfer of power back to the constitutional authorities, as consistently called for by the Security Council and the international community as a whole''.
The Secretary-General urges the junta to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials, to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees and to refrain from any actions that might undermine the effective implementation of the provisions of the Framework Agreement.
Last month, rebel Malian soldiers took control of the country and announced the dissolution of the government led by President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Since then, Ban and the UN Security Council have repeatedly called for the restoration of constitutional rule and have expressed their concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit, visited Bamako, the Malian capital, over the weekend to support the mediation efforts led by the President of Burkina Faso, Mr. Blaise Compaore, on behalf of ECOWAS.
''In the current context, the sooner constitutional order is restored and legitimate institutions are in place, the better it will be in order to allow the Government in Bamako to face the situation prevailing in the north and engage with relevant stakeholders in the search for a solution that preserves the country's territorial integrity,'' he said.
During his visit, the UN envoy met with the ECOWAS mediation team and the junta leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo, as well as with leaders of political parties and the civil society.
Mr. Djinnit said the signing of the agreement forms a basis for a transition that is expected to take the country to credible elections within a reasonable time frame, and urged Capt. Sanogo to continue to cooperate with the ECOWAS mediation in implementing the agreement.
According to the UN, fighting in northern Mali, between government forces and Tuareg rebels, has uprooted more than 200,000 people since January, with the majority seeking safety in neighbouring countries and some 93,000 believed to be internally displaced.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 9April2012