Lopatka: Mali to receive support from EU and Austria / Development Ministers consult on new European development framework
VIENNA, Austria, February 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The refugee crisis and catastrophic draught in the Sahel zone that have resulted from the conflict in Mali were at the centre of the informal meeting of the European Development Ministers in Dublin. The situation is particularly grave in the north of Mali, where the population is faced with massive food shortages. Faced with this distress, State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry Reinhold Lopatka welcomed the suggestion from the EU Commission to resume development cooperation with Mali, accompanied by a political dialogue. Human rights are central in this context and any allegations of human rights violations must be fully investigated.
Austria takes part in EU initiatives such as humanitarian or programme aid for Mali, with more than 16 million Austrian EU funds from the last five years being earmarked for Mali. In addition, Austria has, on a bilateral level, provided a total of 3.1 million Euros for relieving the food crisis and helping refugees and internally displaced persons, with almost a third of this sum going directly to Mali. “Our solidarity with the suffering population is not just restricted to the country itself”, Lopatka emphasised. “In addition to its support for Mali, Austria also seeks to help with caring for Malian refugees in the neighbouring countries, in particular Burkina Faso, one of the focus nations of Austrian development cooperation. The dispatch of nine paramedics and physicians to the crisis region is yet another step to help the people of Mali.”
The Post-2015 Development Agenda, whose Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are set to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), constitutes a focal point of the meeting, as does the question of development financing. “The EU aims at speaking with a single voice and creating a new framework”, Lopatka concluded.