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Peace Corps leaves Mali, new U.S. travel warning issued

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Peace Corps volunteers have been evacuated from Mali and non-essential U.S. diplomatic personnel have been offered flights out due to ongoing political instability following a military coup in March, the State Department said on Sunday.

The agency again warned Americans against travel to the West African nation due to a rebellion in the north and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of Westerners. It strongly urged U.S. citizens there to consider leaving temporarily.

“The situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable,” the State Department said in a statement.

Mali's ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure (L) sits with Djibril Bassole, Burkina Faso's foreign minister and one of the leading mediators for West Africa's ECOWAS bloc, during a meeting in which Toure resigned in the capital Bamako April 8, 2012. Toure resigned on Sunday, paving the way for the soldiers who ousted him in a coup to stick by a deal to restore civilian rule and hand power to the president of the National Assembly. Neighbouring states meet to discuss the turmoil in Mali's north, a major reason for the military's ousting of Toure, differed over whether to crush the northern rebels, a mix of Tuareg separatists and Islamists with links to al Qaeda, or talk to them. REUTERS/Amadou Cisse
Mali's ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure (L) sits with Djibril Bassole, Burkina Faso's foreign minister and one of the leading mediators for West Africa's ECOWAS bloc, during a meeting in which Toure resigned in the capital Bamako April 8, 2012. Toure resigned on Sunday, paving the way for the soldiers who ousted him in a coup to stick by a deal to restore civilian rule and hand power to the president of the National Assembly. Neighbouring states meet to discuss the turmoil in Mali's north, a major reason for the military's ousting of Toure, differed over whether to crush the northern rebels, a mix of Tuareg separatists and Islamists with links to al Qaeda, or talk to them. REUTERS/Amadou Cisse

The main airport in the capital, Bamako, was open, but the availability of future flights was unpredictable and depended on the overall security situation, the State Department said.

The latest travel warning followed the formal resignation of Mali’s president, Amadou Toumani Toure, on Sunday. He has been in hiding since the March 22 coup.

Toure’s resignation paved the way for the soldiers who ousted him to abide by a deal to restore civilian rule and hand power to the president of the National Assembly.

(Reporting By John Crawley; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Published Date: Sunday, April 8th, 2012 | 11:21 PM

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