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AU decides meeting on Mali to take place in Belgium


16:28, February 04, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Support and Follow-up Group (SFG) on the situation in Mali will convene its 3rd meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday to review efforts aimed at regaining control of the northern part of Mali and restoring state authority.

The African Union (AU) announced in a statement at the weekend that the meeting will also deliberate on the political process and preparations for the holding of elections, in light of the just adopted transition roadmap, as well as humanitarian assistance and stabilization needs.

Hosted by the European Union (EU), the meeting will bring together the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations (UN), the neighboring countries of Mali and other countries of the region.

The meeting will take place against the backdrop of the fast evolving situation on the ground and the donors' Conference for Mali jointly convened by the AU and ECOWAS, in Addis Ababa, on January 29.

It also discusses the overall situation in the Sahel, with particular focus on coordination of efforts and enhancement of synergies to effectively address the long-term economic, environmental and security challenges facing the region.

The Brussels meeting is expected to contribute to enhancing the international momentum on the situation in Mali and expediting the resolution of the multi-dimensional crisis facing the country, according to the AU.

The SFG was established by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) at its 314th meeting, held in Bamako, on 20 March 2012, to facilitate coordinated international action with respect to the situation in northern Mali.

The mandate of the SFG was subsequently expanded by the PSC to the institutional crisis arising from the coup d'état of 22 March 2012.

Jointly chaired by the AU, the UN, and ECOWAS, the previous two meetings were held in Abidjan, on 7 June 2012, and in Bamako, on 19 October 2012.

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