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Mali asks donors for EUR 2 billion to rebuild country - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Malian soldiers take positions during a training session given by soldiers from Luxembourg in Koulikoro May 7, 2013. (REUTERS)

Malian soldiers take positions during a training session given by soldiers from Luxembourg in Koulikoro May 7, 2013. (REUTERS)

Paris, Reuters—Mali will ask international donors for nearly EUR 2 billion (USD 2.6 billion) to help rebuild the country and try to halt a resurgence of Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who were driven out of the major northern towns by a French-led offensive.

Paris launched a ground and air operation in its former colony in January to break the Islamist rebel hold on the northern two-thirds of the country, saying the militants posed a threat to the security of West Africa and Europe.

The rapid offensive took back most of the territory seized by the militants but has failed to stop them from waging a guerrilla war.

On Friday, suspected Islamists carried out three suicide attacks on soldiers from Mali and Niger in northern Mali, wounding a Malian soldier. At least five bombers died.

In a document drawn up for an international donors’ conference in Brussels on Wednesday, the Malian government said it would be able to finance just over half of a EUR 4.34 billion plan for this year and next, but needed help with the rest.

“The international community is greatly needed to finance and implement the plan, up to a level of EUR 1.96 billion,” the government said in the document, posted in French on the conference web site.

“To get out of the crisis and to begin lasting development, Mali needs and depends on the technical and financial support of the international community,” it said.

The plan sets out 12 priorities, including keeping the peace, organizing credible elections and fighting corruption.

Next week’s conference, organized by France and the European Union, will aim to raise at least USD 600 to USD 700 million, diplomatic sources said.

Due to attend are Mali’s interim president, Dioncounda Traoré, a number of other African leaders, French president Francçois Hollande and European Commission president José Manuel Barroso.

France is now looking to withdraw thousands of its troops and hand over security duties to a UN peacekeeping mission.

Donors who suspended assistance to Mali following a military coup in March 2012 have resumed budget support and project aid.

The EU has unblocked EUR 250 million in frozen development aid and Paris has restored EUR 150 million, including a EUR 10 million emergency assistance fund to rebuild key services such as water and electricity.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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