Kidnappings of government officials, businessmen, tourists and journalists have become a "disturbing and growing trend" that concerns Canada and the United Nations, an official said.
Two Canadians disappeared in Niger in mid-December and are being held by an Algerian leader of Al-Qaeda's North African branch, according to a Malian source.
On Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss the two missing diplomats UN special envoy to Niger Robert Fowler and his colleague Louis Guay.
Harper and Ban Ki-Moon "shared grave concerns about the recent kidnappings of UN officials, as well as officials of national governments, journalists, tourists and business people traveling abroad," a senior Harper aide said.
"It's a growing trend, a disturbing trend and of increasing concern to our government and governments around the world."
And it is a situation that "no one country can address in isolation."
The official would not comment specifically on the Fowler-Guay case to "minimize risk to the victims."
But Ban Ki-Moon said after his meeting with Harper on Monday that they discussed how to expedite the release of the two men.