He says Canada will work diplomatically with western allies and African countries to seek a solution.
His comments came after a closed-door meeting with President Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin, current head of the African Union.
Yayi, however, says he would like to see NATO play a direct role in Mali alongside an African-led force authorized by the United Nations.
He says the insurgency in Mali poses a terrorist threat to the whole world.
Islamist rebels have seized the northern parts of Mali.