The White House announced in a press release today that President Obama has authorized the use of up to $10 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to respond to the crisis surrounding the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Mali or are displaced within the country. Read the full statement from the National Security Council here:
Today, the President authorized the use of up to $10 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to respond to the unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs resulting from the conflict in northern Mali. The emergency funds will be used to support the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide lifesaving protection and assistance to those fleeing the conflict. Currently, almost 230,000 Malian refugees have fled to Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, while an additional 155,000 Malians are internally displaced.
The United States is deeply concerned about the situation of the Malian people. We call on all parties to support the restoration of democratically elected civilian governance in Mali as soon as possible. Specifically, we ask that the interim government issue its roadmap for elections without delay so that preparations can begin in earnest. We reiterate our call for the military-led National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy (CNRD) to refrain from any interference in political matters. We strongly condemn the attacks against civilians in northern Mali, as well as the reported destruction and looting of religious, historical and cultural sites in Timbuktu. We call on the rebel groups in northern Mali to renounce any connection with terrorist groups and enter into legitimate political negotiations. In addition, we urge all parties to ensure neutral, impartial, and unhindered humanitarian access to all populations in northern Mali
The United States continues to support the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in its mediation efforts and will continue to consult with ECOWAS and other regional stakeholders on the best way to facilitate the political transition and restore peace and security across Mali.
Read The Root's previous coverage of the situation in Mali here.