Spindelegger: "Working together for a new Mali"
Austria provides aid at International Donor Conference for Mali
Vienna, 15 May 2013 – The international community has set the way ahead for the time after armed conflict in Mali. The political and security crisis in Mali has been a matter of concern for the international community since 2012. After re-establishing the unity of the state of Mali efforts have been increased since the beginning of the year to consolidate peace in the Sahel. Austria is also providing direct emergency aid for the strengthening of state and democratic institutions. “Working together for a new Mali is what we now need to do. Austria reacted at once to the humanitarian crisis in the region and provided 3.1 million euros in emergency aid last year. We are continuing this commitment now at the International Donor Conference in Brussels”, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.
In addition to the 1.25 million euros earmarked for Mali in 2013 (950,000 euros in humanitarian aid plus 300,000 in food aid), Austria will now be providing additional aid measures. An additional 200,000 euros will go to SOS Children’s Villages International for helping refugees and in particular for taking care of children and women. “It is always the civilian population that suffers the most in conflicts of this kind, especially the young and the weak”, Spindelegger said. “It is our obligation to support the people of Mali through this important transition phase following the ending of armed conflict.”
A central foundation for a sustainable peace is help in developing functional state structures. In this context Austria will provide the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) with 500,000 euros support over the next three years as a means of strengthening civil society in Mali and will thus contribute to the re-democratisation of the country. “A strong and independent civil society plays a main role in securing the rules of democracy and maintaining the principles of responsibility, transparency and good government leadership. This is a prerequisite for sustainable peace and for social reconstruction in Mali” the Vice-Chancellor said.
In addition to the direct aid for Mali, support for its neighbouring states such as Burkina Faso – a priority country in Austrian development work – is also of great importance. There is additional pressure on already short food resources as a result of the flow of refugees. Furthermore there is a risk of instability spreading to neighbouring countries. This is one of the main reasons for Austrian participation in the EU training mission to Mali (EUTM Mali) involving members of the Austrian army due to continue until 31 July 2014.
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