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Officials to discuss military support and security in Mali

By Andrew Gardner  -  31.01.2013 / 05:50 CET
The EU has promised €50m for an African military force.
Officials from European Union, African and Western states will meet in Brussels next week (5 February) to discuss how to consolidate French and Malian successes in driving back Islamist rebels in Mali.

On Tuesday (29 January), the international community promised to fund an African military force to the tune of $455 million (€336m). The EU promised €50m through the European Commission's African Peace Facility. The most immediate decision the EU faces is the composition of a mission to train the Malian army. Member states' contributions may be specified at a meeting of EU foreign ministers today (31 January). The UK has offered to provide 40 of the 200 trainers at the core of the EU's mission, which is supposed to be operational by mid-February. Ancillary staff – including a protection force – will swell the mission to about 450 people. The UK indicated on Tuesday (29 January) that it also wants to help train the African force.

In a further bid to improve regional security, the US on Monday (28 January) signed a preliminary agreement with neighbouring Niger that could lead to the stationing of intelligence drones in the country. In August, the EU launched a civilian security mission in Niger, whose strategic importance is amplified by its uranium mines.

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