Sens. John McCain, Sheldon Whitehouse visit Mali

United States Sens. John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse have arrived in Mali's capital, Bamako, Tuesday for meetings with the country's leaders.

The Arizona Republican and the Rhode Island Democrat spent time with Mali's interim Prime Minister Diango Cissoko, before heading into a meeting with interim President Dioncounda Traore.

A statement issued by the United States embassy in Bamako said the senators "have arrived in Bamako to take in the situation on the ground so as to have a better understanding of the present challenges so that they can foster the most appropriate contribution from America."

Mali's northern half was overrun by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb last year. The senators are touring the capital as a French-led military intervention aimed at flushing out the extremists enters its third month.