EU foreign ministers are to discuss the political and security situation in Mali next week and prepare for a donors’ conference to help the embattled African state.
EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday are also scheduled to discuss Syria and talks aimed at unblocking a stalemate between Serbia and Kosovo, which prevent both nations from advancing in their EU integration.
Officials said that EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton will update ministers about Mali three months after the French sent an intervention force to halt a rebel jihadist advance.
The EU trains Mali’s armed forces and has committed €50 million to support the deployment of the African-led Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), authorised by a UN Security Council resolution.
An EU diplomat said the work of the African force, which is now deployed in parts of the country, will be assessed. The technicalities of the transfer of the forces’ authority to the UN will also be discussed.
Ashton is expected to report on the national dialogue and reconciliation that has been launched by the Malian government. “We will watch it and support it very closely,” the diplomat said.
Preparations will also be made for a donor’s conference scheduled on 15 May in Brussels. The EU agreed in February to release donor aid to the country to spur reforms and reconciliation between the nation’s south and north, where hostilities continue between insurgents and government troops.
The current EU aid package to Mali is worth close to €300 million, said Alexandre Polack, spokesman to Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
The situation in Mali will also be discussed on Monday when US State Secretary John Kerry pays a visit to Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the Commission said.