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Mali Lawmakers Ask French Minister to Cancel Trip

Some lawmakers in Mali have called on French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to cancel his trip to their country this week.

In a statement read to Mali's parliament, more than 20 legislators protested Sarkozy's planned visit to the former French colony.

They said they are "indignant" because Sarkozy's visit will come on the same day France's parliament is scheduled to vote on his controversial immigration bill.

The bill would make it more difficult for poor, unskilled and uneducated immigrants to settle in France. It would also introduce an immigrant quota system and would give authorities the power to hand-pick who is allowed into the country.

In France, thousands of people marched in the streets last Saturday to protest the immigration bill.

The protesting Malian lawmakers represent the southeastern region of Kayes, the region of the country that is home to the majority of Malians living in France.

Sarkozy is expected to visit Mali, Benin and Liberia to discuss immigration and France's Africa policy during a two-day trip.