UK Suspends Embassy Operations in Mali - Foreign Office
"Given the unstable and unpredictable situation in Mali and the continuing lack of constitutional rule, the UK has decided to temporarily withdraw its staff from its Embassy in Bamako and temporarily suspend all in country services immediately, including consular assistance."
Consular assistance will continue to be provided to British nationals from the UK's embassy in Dakar but the UK’s ability to help British nationals who chose to remain in Mali may become limited.
"We have recommended since 4 April that British nationals should leave Mali as soon as possible by commercial means," said the spokesman.
Earlier today, Tuareg rebels in Mali declared their own independent state called Azawad in the north of the country, an area that is home to the city of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao, said the Mouvement National de Liberation de L'Azawad (MNLA) via its website today.
Fighting has been going on for decades between Malien authorities and the MNLA after Mali gained its independence from France in 1960. France has already dismissed the rebels' unilateral declaration of independence, according to a report by Reuters, saying that "a unilateral declaration of independence which is not recognized by African states would not have any meaning for us."
Malien army officers led a coup on March 21st, and deposed President Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup has been condemned by African nations, which called for a return to democracy.
Mali is 1.2 million square kilometers and is bordered by Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Mauritania. The area claimed by the rebels is twice the size of France.
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