The military standoff and humanitarian situation in Mali will again be center-stage at an upcoming informal meeting of EU development ministers in Ireland, following an EU-hosted gathering yesterday.
The upcoming meeting, which will take place Feb. 11-12 in Dublin Castle, comes as France considers to pull its troops out of Mali in March.
“I think that starting in March, if all goes as planned, the number of French troops could be reduced,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in an interview with French daily Metro.
The meeting will tackle other development and humanitarian issues, as well, possibly including the Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda.
Ministers and representatives of the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States and African Union expressed support for the implementation of the road map for Mali’s transition at Tuesday’s ministerial meeting of the Support and Follow-Up Group on the situation in Mali. That road map paves the way toward planned elections in July, and for the gradual resumption of EU development aid to Mali.
“We want to support programs and projects in Mali as quick as possible, so missions going out are looking up how best we can do that,” said Catherine Ashton, the EU’s top diplomat, after the meeting.
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