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Donors pledge 3.25b euros to aid Mali recovery

Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-16 10:23


Mali's implementation of reforms will be strictly monitored by the donors.

"Nothing is a blank cheque, everything is covered by this plan for 2013-2014 and the progress will be evaluated based on the objectives of this plan," Andris Piebalgs, the EU's development commissioner, told Reuters.

Aid group Oxfam welcomed the pledges, but said they should be seen as "a down payment, not a one-off cheque".

France launched a ground and air operation in its former colony in January to break the Islamist rebel hold on the northern two-thirds of the country, saying the militants posed a threat to the security of West Africa and Europe.

The rapid offensive took back most of the territory seized by the militants but has failed to stop them from waging a guerrilla war.

Hollande dismissed comparisons between Mali and Afghanistan.

"In Mali, the terrorists have been beaten. I don't say there are none left, I don't say there is no risk, but there is no longer any fighting," he said.

Mali continues to suffer a humanitarian crisis, with more than 174,000 refugees in neighbouring countries and 300,000 internally displaced.

Some 750,000 Malians need food assistance and 660,000 children face malnutrition, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the EU's humanitarian aid commissioner.

"At the moment conditions are better in the camps than they are at home," Georgieva told Reuters.

"This is why this focus on the early recovery of basic services is so crucial. As long as people live better in the camps than they live at home, they're not going to go back."

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