By Aurore Bonny
DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - The European Union has suspended its budgetary aid to Mali, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday at the first informal meeting of European defense ministers held in Brest, France.
European training and advisory missions to Mali's armed forces and internal security forces will continue, as will aid to the Malian people, but not budgetary aid, which has already been suspended, according to Borrell.
The suspension comes as Mali, a West African country threatened by terrorism and in political transition after a coup, is being sanctioned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
The European bloc is lining up behind these organizations, which are demanding an electoral timetable that will end the transition, while the ruling military junta wants an extension.
"We have not suspended aid to the Malian people through the Development Assistance Program. But the budgetary aid to the Malian authorities was not disbursed from the moment we knew that the elections were not going to take place," Borrell said.
He announced that the EU will take appropriate measures by closely monitoring the situation in Mali, whose risk of worsening is obvious, according to him.
The political and security crisis in Mali and Ukraine are on the agenda of this meeting, which is scheduled to end on Friday.
Jan. 14 is also scheduled as a day of mobilization for the transitional authorities of Mali.
They have decided to fight back against the sanctions imposed by their sub-regional neighbors.
These include border closures and the freezing of the country and its leaders’ assets.
For the Malian government, these decisions are illegitimate, inhumane, and do not favor the population.
The country has obtained a lot of pan-African support but also opposition from African and other countries which consider the transition mandate over.