France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy has met up with the recently freed hostage, French aid worker Pierre Camatte.
Already in Gabon, Sarkozy took a detour to Mali to thank the country’s president.
Camatte’s release was achieved in a prisoner swap demanded by his captors al Qaeda.
Barely recovered from his ordeal, the 61-year-old said that his prison was, “far from everything, isolated.”
Mali’s release of four Islamist prisoners has however, angered Algeria and Mauritania, two countries where al Qaeda cells also operate.
Sarkozy, who was accompanied by French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, said France was committed to fighting al Qaeda in the region.
He said he recognised the problems of policing the vast inhospitable desert area in North and West Africa, where the militants are believed to be holding three Spaniards and an Italian couple.