France: Mali Needs Aid to Rebuild the Northern Part of the Country and Prevent the Return of Militants

by Colonel on March 19, 2013

“Donors need to pour aid into Mali over the next six months to rebuild its strife-hit north and stop defeated militants taking advantage of the chaos to return, France’s development minister said on Tuesday.

Paris launched a ground and air operation in its former colony in January to break Islamist rebels’ hold on the northern two-thirds of the country, saying the militants posed a risk to the security of West Africa and Europe.

The rapid offensive took back most of the territory seized by the militants nearly a year ago.

But there was now a risk locals could grow increasingly disaffected with the area’s grinding poverty and welcome back the al Qaeda-linked fighters, said officials at a Mali aid conference in Lyon.

Paris is looking to tap into existing France-Mali ties to get northern Mali back on its feet.

” — John Irish, Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters

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