UN chief closely follows situation in Mali, calls for release of civilian leaders

UNITED NATIONS, May 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is continuing to monitor the evolving situation in Mali very closely following the detention of civilian leaders by the military, said his spokesman on Tuesday.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefs journalists on his upcoming trip to the Central African Republic, at the UN headquarters in New York, Oct. 18, 2017. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) next week to visit the peacekeepers there as a gesture to solute the blue helmets around the world. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Guterres, who was being briefed on the latest developments, continues to call for calm and for the immediate release of detained civilian leaders of the Malian transition, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman.

"We are working closely with the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) and of course the African Union and all other international actors that are supporting the ongoing political transition in Mali," he told a daily press briefing.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali continues to monitor the latest developments and reiterate its strong condemnation of the arrest of President Bah N'Daw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, as well as some other of their colleagues, said Dujarric. "This action has serious consequences for Mali and the region as a whole."

UN staff in Mali are seeking to gain access to those detained as soon as possible and to ascertain the conditions of their detention and obtain guarantees of their fundamental rights and freedoms, as enshrined in international human rights law, he said.