Norway condemns coup in Mali
OSLO, Norway, March 23, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Norway condemns coup in Mali
“I condemn the coup against the legally elected Government of Mali and President Touré. The armed forces must return power to the legitimate authorities as soon as possible,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
A group of military officers have declared that they have deposed Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré and seized control of the country.
“Those responsible for the coup must restore power to the democratically elected president. Mali is already suffering from drought and famine. This is on top of the Tuareg rebellion, and now there is a military coup. More than 150 000 people have fled their homes. Many of them have gone to neighbouring countries that are also experiencing drought and facing a food crisis,” said Minister of the Environment and Development Erik Solheim.
Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Mali on 29 April. President Touré has served two terms and had announced before the military coup that he would not stand for re-election.
There are about 70 Norwegians in Mali. Many of them are missionaries or aid workers from NGOs.
“The Foreign Service Response Centre is in contact with Norwegians in Mali and with the NGOs that have aid workers there. We advise the Norwegians in Mali to stay indoors until further notice. We are following the situation closely and continually assessing the need for further measures,” said Mr Støre.
Norway does not have an embassy in the Malian capital of Bamako. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now working with other countries to get an overview of the situation and assist Norwegians in Mali. The Ministry warns against all travel to Mali.