FEB 06.2013-Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, hosted today a ministerial meeting of the Support and Follow Up Group on the situation in Mali.
The meeting was co-chaired by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations. The Malian Delegation led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tieman Coulibaly included Ministers for Territorial Administration Sinko Coulibaly and for Humanitarian Action Mamadou Sidibe.
All members of the Group – including a significant number of Foreign Ministers – welcomed the advance of the Malian armed forces, supported by France and the region, against the terrorist groups in the north of Mali, and underlined the importance of the respect for international humanitarian law as well as the protection of civilian populations. They also commended the Malian transitional authorities on the adoption of the Road Map for the transition and they encouraged them to implement it faithfully and with resolve. A free and fair electoral process, the return to full constitutional order and a genuinely inclusive national dialogue are key to address the instability in Mali and restore security and development in the Sahel region across the board.
Following the meeting, High Representative Catherine Ashton said: “The international community has recognised its responsibilities and reacted quickly to protect the Malian people. France has been in the frontline; the European Union and its member states, along with ECOWAS, the African Union and their members, are working together to provide support across the board.”
The Foreign Affairs Council of 31 January recognized that the adoption of the Road Map for the transition in Mali allows the gradual resumption of the European development aid. The EU has also speeded up the preparations for the EUTM Mali mission to provide training and advice for the Malian armed forces and it will provide financial (€50 million) and logistical support to the African-led International Support Mission in Mali.