EU, France to lead Malian conference

May 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM
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BRUSSELS, May 7 (UPI) -- The European Commission announced Tuesday that Brussels would be the site of a donors' conference for Mali starting May 15.

"The aim of this conference is to mobilize and coordinate support from the whole international community for Mali's development," the commission said.

Last month, the U.N. Security Council authorized a peacekeeping mission for Mali. French troops called in to help the Malian government fight al-Qaida-backed militants will remain.

Mali requested support from former colonial power France after militants seized power in a 2012 coup.

France and the European Union are the co-planners of the donors' conference, which the European Commission said would take place with close collaboration from Malian authorities.

The European Union described Mali as situated "at the heart of the crisis" gripping parts of North Africa. It said the transitional government is working to restore territorial integrity. Elections are expected this year.

"Once the Malian government has set out its development priorities for 2013-14, the conference will express its support for Mali's recovery strategy, and the financial commitments of the international community will be recorded," the commission said.

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