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In Mali, Chancellor Merkel pledges development support for Mali

In Africa, Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged support to the government in Mali for stabilization and development. Mali is among the top 10 countries of origin for migrants arriving in Italy.

Chancellor Merkel pledged more support in the fight against drug and people smuggling from Mali as she met with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Bamako on Sunday.

Merkel also met with other officials including the German representative for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Following the French military intervention in 2013, a peace deal was reached in June 2015 between Mali's government, Tuareg separatists and armed groups in the northern part of the country.

"We attach great importance to the implementation of the peace accord," Merkel said. "We will go into more details to see how we can help improve things more concretely, enabling our bilateral ties," she added. 

Kanzlerin Merkel in Afrika Mali (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)

Chancellor Merkel with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

There has been continued unrest in the north of the country, and Germany has more than 500 soldiers with the UN peacekeeping mission trying to stabilize the country and combat al Qaeda-linked fighters.

"Development cooperation must be strengthened next year in all parts of Mali's northern region," including on water and sanitation projects, Merkel said. She suggested that this could help with stability and therefore also prevent migration.

"The Mediterranean has become an open-air cemetery, a situation we are not indifferent to," Mali's President Boubacar Keita said. "We will find an appropriate solution for a framework with the cooperation of Germany."

A central problem

Merkel has described Africa as "the central problem" in the migration issue in Europe. She announced last month that the EU needed to establish migrant deals with North African countries along the lines of the deal with Turkey whereby Ankara agrees to take all migrants and refugees who cross the Aegean to enter Greece without the correct visas and permits.

Merkel visits Niger on Monday and Ethiopia on Tuesday.

jm/lw (Reuters, AP)

 

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