On 5 February, officials from EU, UN and various African countries will discuss on possible ways to support the development of the Malian state.
A senior European Union official said, “when a state falls apart, it takes a while to put it back together again ... Nevertheless, we need to try…in the medium term, we need to look at ensuring the north has adequate funds for development so the communities there can build real livelihoods.”
The international support group for Mali, meeting in Brussels today, will discuss how to promote democracy, economic development and human rights in the African state. About 45 delegations gathered for the meeting, including ministers or officials from Algeria, Libya, Mali and international lenders such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank. The most important issue that needs to be discussed is about the funding, equipping and training of an 8,000-strong African force, which is expected to eventually take over from the French, as soon as the French forces complete their mission.
On behalf of the Irish Presidency, Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello said, “good progress has been made in stabilising the security situation in Mali in recent weeks, but now it is vitally important that the provision of humanitarian aid and the political process keep pace…We will review the political process in Mali and preparations for elections, which are due to take place before the end of July…A key focus of today’s discussion will be measures to improve the coordination of all of our efforts to address the long-term economic, environmental and security challenges facing the Sahel region.”
Yesterday, French President François Hollande welcomed US vice president Joe Biden who congratulated Hollande’s decisiveness regarding Mali, and underlined “the incredible competence and capability” of the French military forces. The meeting of the two, did put an end to the speculation about a trans-Atlantic tension over the French intervention in Mali, as Hollande expressed his gratitude to Barack Obama and the Americans for their “political, material and logistical support.” According to France 24, “the US has thrown a lot of support behind France, in terms of intelligence and logistical aid. And Hollande has a sincere appreciation of the limitations of the possibilities of US intervention right now.