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France to unfreeze development aid to Mali: minister

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Paris has officially resumed development aid to Mali after suspending it in the wake of a March 2012 coup that triggered a rebellion in the north and French military intervention, France's development minister said Monday.

"We stopped aid for development for months following the coup and now, today, we are renewing (that aid)," Pascal Canfin said during a visit to a hospital in Mopti, central Mali, built using funds from France and Belgium.

Mopti was the scene of clashes between Malian troops and Islamists in January before the start of the French-led campaign to rid northern Mali of armed Islamist groups.

Some 150 million euros ($200 million) will be unfrozen, Canfin said.

"In Timbuktu there is only water and electricity (left) for a few days. So we have to quickly get the country back on its feet," said Canfin, who will meet Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore on Tuesday.

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, announced Monday that the EU would host a donor conference in mid-May in Brussels to reinforce efforts to stabilise the west African former French colony.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130218/france-unfreeze-development-aid-mali-minister