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EU offers aid to back peace mission in CAR

Jan. 31, 2014 at 12:19 PM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs announced Friday new aid to support operations of a peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic.

Piebalgs said as much as $34 million would be available to back an African Union-led peacekeeping operation in CAR.

The funding, he said in a statement, is a clear indication the European Union is committed to help improve "a situation that has been getting worse for more than a year now."

Catherine Samba-Panza was selected as the interim CAR president to help lead the country out of the crisis. She took over from Michel Djotodia, who agreed to resign earlier this month.

Djotodia's rebel Seleka coalition toppled the CAR government in March, though he quickly lost control of the rebel force. Conflict has approached the brink of civil war since the Christian anti-balaka militia took up arms against Sunni Muslim fighters loyal to Seleka.

A military unit from the European Union was mandated by the U.N. Security Council recently to help with AU efforts to stabilize CAR.

The United Nations said the situation in the country, one of the poorest in the world, remains tense and it's difficult to get humanitarian aid to those in need because of ongoing turmoil.

EU funding is subject to "an ongoing evaluation of the current needs."

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