Expatica news

Rau thanks Mali helping free hostages

15 December 2003

BERLIN – German President Johannes Rau on Monday thanked the visiting president of Mali, Amadou Toumani Toure, for helping to win freedom for European tourists taken hostage in the Sahara earlier this year.

“When President Toure put freeing the hostages on his personal agenda we knew it could succeed,” said Rau who serves as Germany’s mainly ceremonial head of state.

Toure was also having talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul during his visit to Germany through Thursday.

Rau praised Toure’s leadership in resolving Mali’s civil war and mediating in other African conflicts.

“Today, Mali is a symbol of hope in Africa,” said Rau, adding: “Africa is sometimes seen as a lost continent. You have proven this is not true.”

Toure paid a key role in securing the release of German and other European tourists abducted while travelling across the Sahara and held hostage for six months earlier this year.

Germany is helping Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, with water supply and farming projects.



Subject: German news