EU gives ECOWAS 74m-euro for AFISMA, free movement

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Redeeming the pledge it made during a donor's  conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa, in January, the European Union (EU) has given ECOWAS a 76-million-euro grant to support the African-led International Mission in Mali (AFISMA), and to strengthen the implementation of the regional protocol on free intra-community movement of citizens.

The agreement for the grant was signed in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Tuesday by ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Ouedraogo, and the Head of the EU delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador David MacRae, on the sidelines of the ongoing three-day 9th ECOWAS/ Development Partners annual Coordination meeting which opened on Monday.

According to an ECOWAS Commission statement made available to PANA Tuesday, 50 million euros of the grant will go mainly toward the payment of the salaries of the international force while the remaining 26 million euros will assist the region in addressing free movement and immigration issues.

“The provision of the sum of 50 million euros has once again demonstrated the EU’s unwavering resolve to assisting ECOWAS in the management of the crisis in Mali and the consolidation of peace and security in West Africa,” the ECOWAS boss said at the signing ceremony.

“I have no doubt that ECOWAS will still count on the support of the  EU and all other development partners for AFISMA and the Mali Security and Defence Forces in this most critical and logistics intensive phase, “ the president added.

Responding, Ambassador MacRae said the signing “concretises the pledge made during the donors conference and a demonstration of the EU commitment to supporting the long-term objective of assisting Mali fully restore state authority, law and order, in addition to providing necessary support to the stabilisation process in the country at the political and military levels as well as contributing to its early recovery.”

He said the EU had also pledged to support the road map for the transition to democratic and constitutional rule, national inclusive dialogue as well as free and fair elections, and urged the Malian authorities to accelerate the full return to constitutional rule and the political reconstruction of the country.

As evidence of its support for Mali’s development, Ambassador MacRae said the EU has resumed development aid to the country for which 250 million euros is available from the European Development Fund, in addition to another 20 million euros in fast-disbursing assistance from the EU’s Instrument for stability.
-0- PANA SEG 9April2013

09 april 2013 20:49:54

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