The head of the African Union is expected to urge Canada to join the international military mission to Mali when he meets Prime Minister Stephen Harper today.

Harper hosts Thomas Boni Yayi on Parliament Hill, where the crisis in Mali will top their agenda.

Mali was struck by a military coup in March and now has a group linked to al-Qaeda controlling its north.

Meanwhile, a retired Canadian diplomat who was kidnapped and held hostage in Mali is criticizing Ottawa for saying it has not been asked to contribute to the mission.

Robert Fowler accused the government of ignoring last month's resolution by the UN Security Council on Mali.

That resolution called on all countries to contribute to halt the spread of terrorism that has taken root in the country.