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Date: 29 Jan 2013
Title: AU to provide US$50m for MISMA mission in Mali

Addis Ababa - The African Union is to contribute US$50 million to the International Mission of Support in Mali (MISMA), Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, the mediator of the Mali crisis, announced on Monday.

The contribution is part of an estimated US$360 million needed in the operation of African-led MISMA, while the post-operation restructuring of the Malian army calls for another US$300 million, according to delegates who attended the two-day AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A donors' conference is scheduled for Tuesday to mobilise funds for these purposes.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at Sunday's opening ceremony of the AU summit said the UN was determined to help the Malian people.

Initially composed of 3 300 troops, mainly from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), MISMA is charged to free the north of Mali from rebels and regain the country's territory integrity.

Up until now, a dozen African nations have offered to contribute to this force, bringing its total to 5 000 or 6 000, according to President Compaore.

Meanwhile, the proposed multinational neutral force in the Democratic Republic of Congo might be integrated into the UN peace mission in the Central African country.

According to the AU representative in the Great Lakes region, Gaoussou Diarra, the neutral force will include 4 000, whose commander will be a Tanzanian.

The force will be integrated as a "special brigade" of the United Nations Mission for Stabilisation of Congo.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 20th AU summit, he said to ensure neutrality, DR Congo's three eastern neighbours Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda - will not send their troops. - SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua

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