VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Leaders of 10 European and northern African nations have condemned “heinous crimes” committed by “Syrian government forces and its militias.”

In a final statement Saturday at the Western Mediterranean Forum, the leaders urged the Syrian government to ensure the safety of its citizens. The forum is comprised of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta from Europe, and Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania from Africa.

The forum also expressed concern about “instability and insecurity” in northern Mali, controlled by al-Qaeda-linked Islamists, and called for a rapid solution that preserves Mali’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The leaders also reaffirmed the necessity to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime and reiterated their stand for a lasting and fair peace in the Middle East through “the resumption of negotiations” toward a two-state solution.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.