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Mali & Syria: Our aid work helps, but we need long-lasting solutions

19 February 2013

Mali & Syria: Our aid work helps, but we need long-lasting solutions

Europe is doing right in Mali and Syria, but without wider work to address the root causes of violence there, our intervention will be in vain.

Europe is doing right in Mali and Syria, but without wider work to address the root causes of violence there, our intervention will be in vain.

Senior Conservative MEP NIrj Deva delivered this stark warning today as the European Parliament held a key debate in Brussels on the international response in both strife-torn regions.

The debate heard a report from the EU Commissioner responsible for international co-operation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, Kristalina Georgieva.

Mr Deva, Conservative MEP for the South East and senior vice-president of the parliament’s International Development Committee, welcomed the EU’s contribution and said: “There are times that we should feel very proud of ourselves. As European people and taxpayers we can be satisfied that we have helped some of the most vulnerable people in the world in both Syria and Mali.

“The EU’s development aid programme to Mali, worth up to €250 million, was resumed last week after it was suspended in March following the military coup. In Syria, international donors last month pledged $1.5bn in humanitarian aid – and the EU promised an extra €100 million. It is the civilians who are paying the price for the UN Security Council’s lack of action.

However, as author of a respected parliamentary report on the use of development funds rebuilding conflict-riven regions, Mr Deva warned: “It is not enough to simply look at our work, salutary though it might be, from a humanitarian perspective. We have to view the situation holistically.

“In Mali, the Jihadists are employing hit and run tactics that destabilise any form of future recovery and impede aid efforts. We have seen such a situation develop in Afghanistan in the past.

“Unless we look at the whole picture and plan for the future in both these countries then we can expect long term uncertainty and instability.

“In Syria we must encourage the Arabic States to shoulder more of the humanitarian burden and encourage them to adopt programmes that embody accountability and transparency.”

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