Mali: government to offer logistical support for operations, says Terzi

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

ROME, Italy, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — According to Minister Giulio Terzi and Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola in a joint report today to the Senate, the Italian government’s approach to the Mali crisis is a three-pronged one that includes, first of all, “reiterating Italy’s political support for efforts” currently underway “within the framework of UN Security Council resolution 2085”; “secondly, and similarly to what is being done at European level, offering concrete logistical support for the operation, especially to African countries having difficulty moving ground troops”; “thirdly, underscoring the absolute urgency of deploying 250 trainers (EUTM) to Bamako during tomorrow’s extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council”.

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Kenyan Peacekeepers donate blood to Aweil Civil Hospital

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In a bid to reduce the number of deaths caused by shortages of blood at the Aweil Civil Hospital, UNMISS peacekeepers from the Kenyan Battalion assigned to Northern Bahr el Ghazal state donated blood today.

The state’s only referral hospital has reported severe shortages in its blood bank in recent months, especially at the height of the 2012 rainy season which witnessed an unprecedented rise in the incidence of malaria and waterborne diseases.

“The decision was reached after (finding out that) the hospital had many fatality cases of children and pregnant mothers due to lack of blood,” said Lt. Robert Ngumbwa, who led a team of 15 peacekeepers to the hospital. Ten Kenyan peacekeepers previously donated blood on 31 December 2012.

Aweil Civil Hospital blood bank supervisor Santino Garang Kuan expressed his thanks for the blood donations and urged local residents to follow suit.

“Donating blood is normal and not harmful,” said Mr. Kuan.

The Kenyan Battalion has frequently reached out to assist the people of Northern Bahr El-Ghazal in the past. It has supplied sewage disposal service to important government facilities such as the Aweil Central Prison and the city’s civil hospital.

The peacekeepers also provided force protection for humanitarian aid agencies that furnished assistance to internally displaced persons fleeing from violence in the northern parts of the state last year.

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LC2 Media and the management of television and radio Rights for ORANGE AFCON South Africa 2013 in Nigeria

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

PARIS, France, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — LC2 is an African media group (http://www.lc2international.tv), which carries out international activity through various structures both in and outside Africa. In 2003 and 2008, it won bids to manage and sell Television and Radio broadcasting rights of several football competitions organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), including the AFCON South Africa 2013, which will take place from January 19 to February 10, 2013.

Logo LC2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/logo-lc2-t__l__vision-copie.jpg

These rights, which are a CAF property, have been licenced to LC2 Media –AFNEX via CAF’s marketing agency – SPORTFIVE-, in exclusivity, for television and Radio broadcasting “via Terrestrial TV and satellite, by free TV”, in Sub-Saharan Africa territory including Nigeria.

The commercialization done by LC2 MEDIAS – AFNEX with the assistance of CCFOOT Ltd on the African continent is subject to rules and constraints set in the contracts with the CAF and by the regulations taken to ensure a better visibility for African football.

Many assumptions made by BON and relayed in the Nigerian media disregard the virtuous circle of sport economy, especially concerning the advertising market.

LC2 Medias’ actions are concerned with the protection and promotion of sport economy in Africa, both for the present and the future. Nigeria is an important African country, both due to its economy but also its football, and as such, is certainly an actor that will drive sports economy up.

LC2 Medias will do its best to find a solution regarding the AFCON rights, as long as all parties’ interests are respected, including Nigerian viewers.

Let’s all live CAN ORANGE 2013 in conditions that are respectful of African sports economy in general and of African football in particular. (http://www.sportetafrique.com)

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of LC2-AFNEX.

LC2-AFNEX : Rédouane AMRAOUI +33 6 86 14 23 03 E-mail : ram@afnex.net

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Unidentified men shoot dead a Nigerian editor

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

NEW YORK, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nigerian authorities should determine the motive behind the murder of an editor on Saturday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Unidentified men shot dead Ikechukwu Udendu, editor of Anambra News, a monthly newspaper in southeastern Anambra state, while he was returning home at night from a commercial printing house in the city of Onitsha, news reports said. Udendu had gone to the printing company to see if the paper was ready for distribution, the reports said. Emeka Odogwu, a reporter for the local paper The Nation, told CPJ that Anambra News covered news stories from Anambra state.

Chukwulozie Udendu, publisher of Anambra News and Udendu’s brother, told local journalists that he had received an anonymous phone call on Saturday night in which he was told to retrieve the journalist’s body in front of a local restaurant, news reports said.

Udendu’s brother told CPJ he did not know what stories Udendu was working on before he died. Local journalists told CPJ they suspect Udendu was killed in connection with his reporting, but did not offer further details.

News accounts reported that Ballah Nasarawa, the state’s police commissioner, promised to personally investigate the murder and identify the journalist’s killers.

CPJ documented the murder of a Nigerian journalist in January 2012. Enenche Akogwu, a TV reporter, was gunned down while he attempted to interview witnesses of a terrorist attack in the city of Kano, news reports said.

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NUSOJ Demands the release of the Somali Journalist held incommunicado for the Sixth day without Charges

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) demands the release of the Somali Journalist held incommunicado at the CID detention facility following unpublished interview on rape victims.

The police detained Abdulasis Abdinur Ibrahim alias Abdiasis Koronto who works for Dalsan and Ergo Radios last Thursday January 10, 2013, after he was accused of interview a woman who said was allegedly raped by five government soldiers.

The police initially detained the victim, her husband, the woman who put in contact with the journalist to the victim and the journalist

and started interrogations, though they later released the victim.

Three other journalists were interrogated over this issue, one of them, Abdiasis Mohamed Diiriye of SIMBA and Ergo Radios was held more than 24 hours without charges at the NSA detention center.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has received credible

information that the police has finally won to convince the rape victim to recant of her interview after several days of interrogations, though her husband and the other woman who put in her in contact with the journalist, who was also said to have been the victim’s sister, refused to accept the police offer and therefore still remain in custody, though there are reports of putting both on pressure to accept the deal, in order to try the journalist, which if becomes true, could damage the public trust of the Somali police.

The Somali journalists are annoyed by the police brutality against the Somali Journalists and called the manner the police handled the case “Unacceptable” and demand the immediate release of the journalist.

“It is not a crime to report a rape story or to interview a rape victim.” NUSOJ said, “The police should have arrested the criminals and bring them to court.”

The National Union of Somali Journalists is worried about how the future reporting of investigative stories should look like, if the messengers are being targeted for these important stories, the public want to know. END

More Updates will follow

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Remarks at the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Signing Ceremony

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

WASHINGTON, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Liberian President Sirleaf

Treaty Room

Washington, DC

January 15, 2013

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, welcome to the Treaty Room. I am delighted to have this occasion, once again, to host President Sirleaf, a very good partner over many years, and especially, I would say, over the last four years it has been a great personal pleasure for me to work with her to strengthen that partnership between the United States and Liberia. And I also am grateful, as well, for her personal friendship.

Today, we are taking another important step to deepen the partnership between our nations and to support Liberia as it continues down the path of democratic and economic reform. The partnership dialogue we are about to sign will expand the cooperation between our countries and ensure high-level engagement for years to come.

This agreement establishes working groups in three key areas – first, agriculture and food security; helping Liberia’s farmers use their land more effectively and get their crops to markets more efficiently will be critical to improving the health and prosperity of people throughout Liberia. This working group will review progress under the Feed the Future Initiative, look for new opportunities to attract private investment in the agriculture sector, and recommend policies to promote food security and better nutrition.

Second, energy and power infrastructure. We know that access to affordable, reliable energy is essential to creating jobs and sparking growth that helps to build a strong economy. So we will take stock of outstanding needs for the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy, promote a regulatory environment that’s friendly to new investments in energy, and look for ways to accelerate the development of a well-governed and inclusive energy sector.

And finally, we want to look at human development with a real emphasis on creating more economic opportunity for the people of Liberia to expand access to education and employment so that many more Liberians have a chance to not only better themselves and their families, but make a contribution to their nation.

I think it is more than fair to say that this last decade has been a success story for Liberia. The people of Liberia have emerged from a time of violence and lawlessness and have made tremendous commitments to both economic and political reform. The United States has stood by Liberia during this challenging process, but I think it is also more than fair to say it was aided considerably by the leadership, the determination of a woman who understood in every fiber of her being what was at stake. And so, Madame President, let me, on behalf of the United States, thank you for the great progress under your leadership, pledge our continuing support and partnership and friendship to you and to the people of your country. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT SIRLEAF: Secretary of State Clinton, members of the Administration, ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here today for several reasons. First, I feel privileged to have been invited to the State Department this week, one of the last weeks that you, Madame Secretary, will be in office, to say thank you for all that you have done for Liberia and the Liberian people, to say thank you for always being there for Liberia.

Second, for me personally, it was important to be here today to see that you have fully recovered – (laughter) – from your recent illness, to embrace you, and to let you know that all of Liberia prayed for your speedy recovery.

Third, I have always seen Liberia’s progress as underpinned by its special relationship with the United States. The launching today of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue is an historic achievement, one that will cement the strategic cooperation between our two countries for generations to come regardless of the occupants of the White House or the Executive Mansion. Dear friends, today for us marks an historic day for the Government and people of Liberia, the fulfillment of a wish first articulated last June for the institutionalization of the longstanding bilateral relationship between Liberia and the United States of America.

Just seven months ago, we made the rounds among congressional and U.S. Government officials. We put forward proposals on how the United States could work with Liberia as a partner to consolidate its gains. One proposal called for the establishment of a joint United States-Liberia bi-national commission established (inaudible) in the 1960s, which aimed to ensure that the partnership would endure for 50 years or more.

I recall vividly when I made the case to you, Madame Secretary, your support was instantaneous. You assured me that you would figure out how to embed such a relationship in our governments and countries, and here we are today for the signing of the statement of intent, Liberia’s chance with the United States as a reliable partner in the region. The U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue would allow our two countries to look at our relationship strategically with a view towards the long term and focus on those areas that encourage broad-based economic growth, including agriculture and food security, energy and power infrastructure, and human development.

We look forward to carrying out the first meeting of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue under the leadership of Secretary of State designate, Senator John Kerry, who also has been an essential supporter of Liberia during his long service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including his time as chairman. We recognize that this will not just be a job for our two governments, but also for the business communities of both countries and other stakeholders in Liberia.

Madame Secretary, I’m especially pleased that we were recently declared eligible for compact status by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Coming just two years after being awarded a threshold program and seven years after the reestablishment of democracy in Liberia, this is one of Liberia’s proudest achievements. I would like to recognize the presence here of MCC President Daniel Yohannes and to promise you that we will deliver a compact program that will be comprehensive and resulting.

I take this opportunity to thank Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson for his steadfast leadership on Africa policy over the past four years. Ambassador Carson, we wish for you the best and hope you will continue to find a way to stay engaged with us in Liberia. We also congratulate President Barack Obama on his forthcoming inauguration to a second term of office. We trust that we can count on him and on Africa’s continued support under his leadership to Liberia and to Africa.

Madam Secretary, Hillary – (laughter) – you’ve been a true friend of Liberia and to me personally. We are pleased that in the history of our bilateral relationship, which spans more than a century and a half, you made two trips to Liberia while in office as Secretary of State. You have supported our country’s progress, championed our political process, and pushed to settle Liberia’s external debt. As we bid you farewell, I remain convinced that in this era of economic challenge, history will show that your support and the investment of the U.S. Government and the American people in Liberia will return significant dividends.

We’ll continue to guard the peace, promote reconciliation, build strong democratic institutions, and show good governance and transparency, and encourage broad-based economic development. We will continue to strive to be a post-conflict success story. For that, Madam Secretary, is America’s success also. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton and President Sirleaf are signing a statement of intent between the United States and the Republic of Liberia to establish a partnership dialogue. The U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue will ensure sustained high-level bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest.

(The document was signed.) (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks to everyone who helped work on this. I see a lot of the faces from across the State Department. Let’s get a picture with everybody coming up behind us, perhaps.

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Herakles Farms Initiates Programs to Meet Community Health and Social Needs

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Over the holidays, Herakles Farms (also known as SG-SOC) (http://www.heraklesfarms.com), a New York-based agriculture company operating in Ghana and Cameroon, donated food to 1,700 households in 38 villages located in the Nguti subdivision of Kupe-Muanenguba and in Mundemba and Toko in Ndian. In total, 11 tons of rice and 10 tons of fish were distributed to more than 8,000 individuals in the Nguti, Mundemba and Toko areas.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/herakles-farms-1.jpg

The holiday food program was the first of its kind for these communities, and just one of Herakles Farms’ diverse social programs to support the communities within its project areas. “The holiday season is a period when there is particularly intense pressure on wildlife due to bushmeat hunting, as families work to put food on their tables. It is the company’s hope that this gift will alleviate such pressure this year,” said Bruce Wrobel, the company’s CEO. In the next few years, Herakles Farms plans to develop a wider range of longer-term programs, such as capacity building for smallholder farmers and animal husbandry businesses to support alternative sources of protein and incomes. Such programs would both enhance livelihood development and reduce the poaching of endangered species.

“We know the financial difficulties many families face to put food on their table,” said Dr. Blessed Okole, Herakles Farms’ Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Field Operations, who led the holiday food campaign. “We felt it was important for every home in the project affected villages to have a decent meal with their family during the holidays.”

Many villagers expressed their appreciation for the program and good will towards Herakles Farms and its presence in the community. “We’re very happy for the gift,” said Chief Wangoe Philip of Fabe, located in the Mundemba subdivision. “My people are very grateful. They thank Herakles Farms for what it has done.”

In addition to the food program, Herakles Farms has been providing the St. John of God Hospital Nguti with electricity between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. Through Herakles Farms’ support, the hospital has been able to improve its services and save lives by attending to emergency cases, performing deliveries and other services at night that require a constant flow of electricity. The hospital has also been able to reduce operating costs associated with running a generator throughout the night.

“We are very appreciative of Herakles Farms for immensely contributing to the development of St. John of God Hospital Nguti through the many services they have provided,” stated Rev. Br. Gregorio Matim of St. John of God Hospital Nguti. “We will continue to pledge our support to all of their projects and developments within our compound and Nguti subdivision as a whole.”

“These efforts are part of our long-term commitment to develop social programs working side-by-side with communities,” said Herakles Farms CEO Bruce Wrobel.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Herakles Farms.

Contact Information:

Herakles Farms

publicrelations@heraklesfarms.com

About Herakles Farms

Established in 2009, Herakles Farms (http://www.heraklesfarms.com) is focused on identifying and implementing solutions to important food security issues in Africa. The management team has a track record of developing environmentally and socially sustainable projects that result in economic development in some of the least-developed African countries, and has received numerous awards for its work. Herakles Farms is guided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards and Equator Principles. http://www.heraklesfarms.com

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The AUC and CGIAR Consortium agree to enhance collaboration in advancing a Science and Technology Agenda for African Agriculture

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In an event that highlights continued progress towards African agricultural sustainability, African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime and Chief Executive Officer of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR Consortium), Dr. Frank Rijsberman today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the two organizations.

The MoU describes a strategic partnership under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the AUC and CGIAR Consortium to facilitate, “enhanced coordination, collaboration, and alignment between CGIAR Consortium members and initiatives and those of African agricultural research and development organizations at the country, sub-regional, and continental levels with regard to their respective priorities, objectives, and programs for increased agricultural productivity in Africa.”

In her welcome remarks during the signing ceremony, held at the AUC Headquarters, H.E. Tumusiime stated that, “The signing of this MoU with CGIAR Consortium has a special significance, for it comes at a time when global attention has focused on Africa’s resolve to shoulder its responsibilities of making hunger and destitution history.” She further stated that, “The AUC recognizes that feeding Africa’s population and enabling agriculture play a critical economic transformation role in much of Africa needs to be supported by tried and tested technologies and home-grown policy initiatives.”

Mrs. Tumusiime also expressed her confidence that the CGIAR Consortium would prove to be a significant partner in the AU Commission’s quest for science-based agricultural transformation in Africa.

Dr. Rijsberman stated that “through better alignment with CAADP, CGIAR can help ensure that we are providing the right science for real impact on the ground.” He also noted that more than 50% of CGIAR funding goes towards projects on the African continent, and that “more effective research-to-practice alignment is a fundamental pillar of CGIAR’s work.”

The MoU signed today calls for joint actions to guide implementation of alignment of programs and support activities for CAADP, including: a research alignment plan that coordinates research programs with CAADP National Investment Plans; a Science and Technology Agenda for African Agriculture; a joint plan to support regional and sub-regional research activities; the development of joint African and CGIAR technology platforms; technical support; and joint sharing of information and knowledge.

The AUC, through the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), has been implementing CAADP, which addresses policy and capacity issues across the entire agricultural sector and African continent. CAADP is entirely African-led and African-owned and represents African leaders’ collective vision for agriculture in Africa. This ambitious and comprehensive vision for agricultural reform in Africa aims for an average annual growth rate of 6 percent in agriculture by 2015.

CGIAR is a global agricultural research partnership for development that includes 15 of the world’s leading agriculture research centers and leads 16 comprehensive global agricultural research programs. Its goals are to conduct research that contributes to reduced poverty, improved food security, improved nutrition and health, and sustainable management of natural resources.

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PRESS BRIEFING ON MALI

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13.00 on Mali by Mr. Nick Westcott

Managing Director for Africa, EEAS

Mr. Walter Stevens

Head of the Crisis Management and Planning Department, EEAS

Mr Gilles de Kerchove

EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator

Experts from the European Commission

Council press room

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Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the Situation in Mali, European Parliament

16.January.2013 · Posted in APO-OPA

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the Situation in Mali

Madame President,

I would like to thank President Schulz and all political groups for the cooperation and flexibility you have shown in making space in today’s agenda to debate the situation in Mali.

This is something that I have felt very strongly in this very turbulent week that I want to be able to do, as we bring together our services in the crisis platform and as we talk with the Malian government and as I convene the FAC in emergency session this week.

As you have seen, the situation in Mali has changed dramatically over the past week. The intentions of jihadist rebels and terrorists in northern Mali have become clearer when they launched an offensive further south and took the city of Konna in the region of Mopti, only a few hundred kilometres away from the capital Bamako: It was clear as we analysed the situation as it happened that they wish to seize as much territory within Mali as possible and to reinforce their position before the international community was fully ready to act. They also wished to destabilize the government in Bamako to make it even more difficult for the international community to bring its support to the Malian people. The consequences of this are already clear from the actions perpetrated in northern Mali by these radical groups. There have been the horrific abuses of human rights, the desecration of holy and cultural sites, the trampling of political and religious freedom, and the threat posed to all neighbouring countries.

That threat extends to the EU itself. We are directly impacted by the situation there. Terrorist groups based in northern Mali use this territory they control for all kind of trafficking, drugs, arms smuggling. They have taken many hostages, a lot of them originating from European Member States. We cannot be indifferent.

I pay tribute to those member states, particularly France, as well as the countries of West Africa, who have come to Mali’s aid. It is important that the rebels understand that the international community is united in supporting the Malian people against those that wish to impose an undemocratic and violent regime over them.

As the UN Security Council concluded on 10th and on the 14th January the aggressive actions of the rebels “constituted a direct threat to international peace and security”. I’ve strongly condemned this aggression.

What we are facing today in Mali is a matter of emergency. We have to act. Failing to do so would be a great political, strategic and humanitarian mistake.

Like other international organisations – not just the UN but the AU and ECOWAS – as well as a number of member states led by France and other African countries, the EU has responded to the appeal of President Traoré of Mali for help. Coordination and involvement is absolutely necessary.

The states of the region are playing a key role and the decision of Algeria and Morocco to allow for the use of their air space is a good example of this international mobilisation.

This will be very much a collective effort. But the EU, which has taken the lead in defining a strategy to resolve the problems of the Sahel region, has a critical role to play. I set out the EU’s commitment to support the people of Mali already in a statement on 11 January. But more important now is to act rapidly.

Since the end of last week, the EEAS and Commission colleagues have put together a package of measures that will provide immediate and longer term help to the Malian Government and people.

Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the EU’s Crisis Platform to pull the threads together and spoke again to Laurent Fabius on the state of play on the ground. Taking all these elements into account and the emergency of the situation, I announced an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council which will discuss this package of actions and adopt immediate measures. As I reiterated yesterday in a statement, we need to accelerate our course of action.

The Foreign Minister of Mali is on his way to Brussels to meet with me bilaterally and then to join us at the Foreign Affairs Council.

The EU has already agreed to provide a Training Mission to help the Malian Army restructure and enhance their capacity to defend the people against such threats (EUTM). We intend to deploy this Mission as swiftly as possible and quicker than planned. Though circumstances have changed, the need for Mali to have an efficient and professional military, under civilian control, is all the more urgent and, in the long run, essential for Mali’s viability and territorial integrity. So we will adapt accordingly the details of our mission, get the agreement of our Member States and send without further delay to Mali the first preparatory and technical elements of that mission

The EU has also undertaken to support those African countries providing troops for the UN-AU mandated African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). One key part of this international effort is to underline the need for a genuine African ownership of this whole initiative.

I am working with Commissioner Piebalgs and the Member States to ensure that our financial support, through the African Peace Facility, can be provided in a timely manner, given that this is now being deployed more quickly than originally planned. We also have to think about logistical support, as the deployment of this African-led force is key for fighting against terrorist groups and restoring Malian territorial integrity.

We are looking at ways we can support President Traore and his government to put the country back on the proper democratic and constitutional path. Honourable members will know as we have talked about our position on the Sahel and our overarching strategy, that Mali has been through a traumatic period over the last year. Two things are now quite clear: that the Malian Army’s job is to defend the people, not run the government; and secondly that the Malian Government must respond to the needs of the people, helping their development and respecting their diversity. The EU can help with both of those.

We are looking also to the increase our Humanitarian support. This assistance never stopped (58 million euros already in 2012 – 20 million euros immediately available) and is going to continue, even in difficult conditions, in order to meet the growing needs of the Malian population, internally displaced persons and refugees, women and children that are the first ones to suffer from such a crisis.

It is part of our Comprehensive Approach that we try to tackle the full range of issues that will help build a more stable and prosperous future for the country. That is one reason I intend to appoint an EU Special Representative for the Sahel, to increase our ability to deliver help to all the countries of the region and take part even more actively in the necessary international coordination mechanisms.

But the survival of Mali must come first with the need to protect, promote and respect the sovereignty, the unity and the integrity of the Malian nation. That is the immediate priority. And that is where our immediate help is focussed.

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