In Brussels, the International Community Solidifies Commitment to Mali's Recovery

Representatives from more than 80 countries met in Brussels on May 15 to pledge their support for Mali, which is recovering from political upheaval and the occupation of its northern territory by rebels and terrorist groups.

Nancy Lindborg, USAID's Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, and I announced an additional $32 million in new U.S. humanitarian assistance to support Malians affected by the crisis.

French and African military forces intervened in January after terrorist and extremist groups moved southward toward Mali's capital. 

Now, following security gains made by French and African military forces and the progress made by Mali's transitional government to hold elections in July 2013, the international community gathered to help Mali lay the groundwork for a stable and successful future.

The Assistant Administrator emphasized that the full range of development assistance comes with important conditions: Mali must make progress to return to its democratic roots and reconcile ethnic and regional differences that this conflict has exacerbated.

Mali needs a security sector that respects civilian authority, can control territory, and defend its borders. Those who have committed grave crimes must be brought to justice.

Mali is also struggling with a widespread humanitarian crisis caused by regional food insecurity and aggravated by 18 months of conflict.

More than 475,000 Malians have been displaced, moving their families to safer regions of Mali or becoming refugees in neighboring countries.

The new assistance to Mali builds on the significant ongoing commitment of the United States to address the crisis there.

Although direct assistance to the government was terminated after the coup, the United States continues to provide more than $7 million in democracy assistance programming, $83 million in health support, and more than $180 million in humanitarian assistance to Mali and Malian refugees.

The United States has also continued to provide $4.8 million in peace and security assistance and $33.5 million in economic growth programming for Mali.

On the security side, the United States will provide up to $96 million in support of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) and has already provided $19.1 million for aerial refueling and lift for French and African forces in support of their military efforts in Mali.

The United States will be a major contributor to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), following the transition of AFISMA to the new UN peacekeeping mission in July. 

The UN mission takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the crisis in Mali -- an approach that prioritizes not only the need to confront the immediate security challenges in the country, but also to return to democracy, protect civilians and human rights, deliver humanitarian assistance, and promote national reconciliation, justice, and accountability. 

This is the approach that the international community must continue as we build on the momentum generated in the Mali Donors' Conference to support Mali during this critical period of transition and recovery.

About the Author: Donald Y. Yamamoto serves as the Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.

Women Sell Cloth at the Grand Market in Bamako, Mali
May 17, 2013


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