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Germany’s Merkel first day of a trip to Africa

By on October 10, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged more support to fight against drug and people smuggling from Mali, on the first day of a trip to Africa.

Merkel also underscored the need to “establish coherent cooperation” in development policy and military support in Mali, her first port of call.

“The military cannot alone bring security and peace,” she said, addressing a news conference with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Germany has more than 500 soldiers in Mali. Merkel said Germany would intensify its support for the agriculture sector as well as for the security of the northern part of the country, where Islamist groups are still active.

She told reporters after meeting President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita: “We have a strong interest in stabilising the country.”

The Malian president pledged to try and limit the number of migrants leaving for Europe.

“We want our youths to remain here rather than drown in the Mediterranean,” he said, adding that the area had “become an open cemetery.”

Merkel later heads to Niger and then Ethiopia where she is to visit the African Union headquarters in the capital Addis Ababa.

Next week, back in Berlin, Merkel will host Chadian President Idriss Deby and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

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