ALGIERS, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said Monday that the Algerian consul and his six staff members kidnapped early this month by gunmen in Mali are "doing well."
After meeting with Morocco Minister of Education Mohamed al- Wafa, Medelci told reporters that "the information we have says the Algerian hostages are doing well," adding that Algerian authorities "are closely monitoring the issue, as contacts are underway."
Algerian consul in Gao of northeastern Mali and six other diplomats were kidnapped on April 5 following the eruption of chaos raging in the city. Jamaat al-Twhid Waljihad, a dissident armed group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Algeria has condemned such an act and set up a crisis unit in the foreign ministry to monitor the issue.
Medelci has said that "the crisis unit ... is continuously monitoring developments related to this case which requires being managed with lots of discretion" and that the government is committed to the repatriation of the diplomats safe and sound.
As for the proclamation of an independent state in northern Mali by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Medelci said "Algeria's position is constant. Like the international community, we support the preservation of unity and territorial integrity of Mali."