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  • on 27.07.2013
  • at 05:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Exclusive. EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs: “Mali must once again be proud of itself” 0

Brussels – “I hope that Malian elections succeed”, said the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, on the eve of the first round of presidential elections in Mali, in an exclusive interview released to Afronline.org and and media from Senegal (South FM), Mali (Les Echos, Réseau Jamana), Niger (Le Républicain, Radio Anfani), Burkina Faso (Radio Horizon FM) and Benin (L’Autre Quotidien).

Tomorrow more then 6,8 milions of Malians are expected to go to polls — in the first elections since a military coup in March 2012. The expectations for these presidential elections are huge, especially among Malian citizens, but also between international donors, which during a conference held in Brussels in last May pledged to support a reconstruction plan in Mali with promises of funds amounting to € 3.25 billion.

“We had an obligation to support the Malian people and the government of Mali had promised to prepare for elections”, Piebalgs recalls. . “I know that times were very short” recognizes the European Commissioner, who hopes “t+hat the elections, and then the reconstruction of the country, will be going well. The needs of Mali are enormous. “

But Piebalgs makes it also clear that the EU’s support to the Malian authorities will be conditioned on the election success. “The power of a State lies in the support that people give to the government” and its political authotorities, “and not just from the funds that the state receives.” Here’s “why I ask that the Malian elections succeed, and that the winner of these elections receive the support of all the people of Mali.”

It’s “the strength of the Malian State which will make the difference. If this State is strong, then terror threats will not be a problem. But if weak, the threats will be difficult to manage. The most important thing,” assures the Commissioner, “is that Malians can again be proud of their country.”

Click here to read the full interview (in French)

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