President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday that the EU will pledge more than half a billion euros to help rebuild Mali after months of conflict.
The announcement came ahead of a conference of international donors in Brussels on Wednesday. French President François Hollande and Mali’s interim President will be among those leading the gathering.
The Malian government is seeking around €2 billion in development aid to help fund a roadmap to keep the peace and help restore infrastructure in the country.
‘The European Union will commit tomorrow with a total of 520 million to Mali for the period 2013-2014. This, of course without forgetting that we are also working with the countries in the region as there is clearly a regional dimension. These are amounts that can be reviewed if necessary’, said Mr.Barroso at a press conference on Tuesday.
Mali’s President also told a news briefing that the country will hold presidential elections on July 28th.
‘I won’t be candidate to presidential elections, the Prime Minister won’t be candidate, the members of the government won’t be candidate because our concern is that we cannot be judges and party. And we want to give every opportunity to the people of Mali to have transparent open elections, honest, credible elections’, said president of Mali ad interim Dioncounda Traore.
Mali sought urgent military support from France in January to combat Islamist rebels who had seized control of the northern part of the country.
Since the conflict erupted over a year ago, almost half a million people have fled northern Mali due to conflict and food insecurity.
France began withdrawing the first of its 4,500 troops in the country last month.