[JURIST] Acting head of the EU delegation in Mali, Bertrand Soret, on Tuesday met with the leader of last week’s military coup [JURIST report] urging a quick return to constitutional order in the country. President Amadou Toumani Toure [Al Jazeera profile] was removed from office after Malian soldiers took control of the government, announcing the suspension of the constitution and a national curfew. Soret indicated that the EU expected the Malian military to find a solution to the current crisis [AP report], and that he has asked to have access to government ministers that have been detained by the military. Soret’s statements were consistent with statements [text, PDF] made last week by EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton. On Monday, the UN Security Council [official website] also strongly condemned [statement] the military’s seizure of power, calling for the restoration of the country’s constitution and urging the military to allow previously scheduled elections to proceed.
Mali has experienced military turmoil since Taureg rebels began attacking Malian soldiers [Al Jazeera report] in January. Early this month the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) [official website] said that more than 80,000 people had fled Mali [press release] to escape the fighting. In February, the UNHCR appealed for additional funds and resources [report, PDF] to deal with the crisis, after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] expressed concern [statement] about the growing number of refugees in the region.