European Parliament stands by Mali

June 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

BRUSSELS, June 3 (UPI) -- A genuine democratic government in Mali is needed to ensure national stability and territorial integrity, members of the European Parliament said.

Around $4 billion in assistance was pledged during a donors conference hosted by the European and French governments last month.

Mali is struggling to recover politically from a 2012 coup. The Malian government in January called for military support from former colonial power France to fight foreign and al-Qaida fighters who seized territory following the coup.

Members of the European Parliament said the welcomed the outcome of the donors conference but stressed reforms must accompany the pledges of support from the international community.

"MEPs stressed the need to link financial pledges to respect for the rule of law and human rights," a parliamentary statement said. "They also pressed the president to guarantee that the perpetrators of the crimes observed in Mali were properly pursued and that the funds promised by the international donors would really be used to help the people."

Acting Malian President Dioncounda Traore told European lawmakers last week he was committed to timely elections. He said the conflict in the north was a reflection of problems with the central government.

He said no members of the transition government would stand in elections scheduled for July.

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