New York

22 April 2009

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the release of abductees in West Africa

The Secretary-General is pleased to learn of the release of four people who had been abducted in recent months in West Africa, including his Special Envoy for Niger, Robert Fowler, and Mr. Fowler's aide, Louis Guay, both from Canada.

He is very grateful to the authorities in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger for their efforts to secure the safe release of the abductees. He particularly appreciates the role that Canada has played in ensuring that Mr. Fowler and Mr. Guay would be released unharmed, and is grateful that those efforts have resulted in success.

The Secretary-General reiterates his belief that UN staff members carry out valuable work around the world, which they should be able to do without fear of harassment or intimidation.