The European Union allocated on Tuesday 194 million euros in funding for the five Sahel states to boost their security forces, and pledged, during a video conference, to study a request to cancel African debt.
“We discussed with the leaders of the five Sahel countries concrete steps to help them reduce the terrorist threat,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, told a press conference after the conference in which the leaders of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad participated.
“We have announced an additional 194 million euros to strengthen the security and internal defense forces, accelerate the re-establishment of the state and secure basic services in the deprived areas,” Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on his Twitter account.Efforts are concentrated in the area known as the “Three Borders” between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, which regularly witnesses jihadist attacks.
“The Covid-19 epidemic does not allow us to forget how deteriorating the situation is on all fronts in a region whose challenges are also our challenges,” Borrell said, stressing, “We seek to persuade other partners to join the alliance.”The European Union and the five coastal states formally launched the Sahel alliance announced in January at the Boe Summit in southwest France.
This alliance will assist the five Sahel states at the military, civilian (police and judiciary) and economic levels with development assistance.Michel added that the European Union has granted the region 4.5 billion euros over the past six years. The leaders of the five Sahel countries requested “simply the cancellation of African debt” to help them meet the health and economic costs of fighting the emerging Corona virus.
“We agreed to discuss this request within the European Union and with other international partners,” in particular the International Monetary Fund.”A new meeting will be held within three months via the video circle to study the situation,” said Charles Michel.These developments come amid international warnings of the inability of African countries to cope with the outbreak of the Corona virus and calls for assistance, including the cancellation of their debts.
And the G20 announced in the last virtual summit held under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, the need to provide financial aid to African countries and reduce their debts to help them cope with the spread of the Covid 19 virus.
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