Spain will release to Mali development aid frozen since the March 2012 coup and Madrid will provide support to the African country for its political transition and to train its police, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Sunday.
Garcia-Margallo met with Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore; with Foreign Minister Tieaman Coulibaly; and with French Col. Bruno Heluin, who is in command of the advance group of the European mission to train the Malian army, or EUTM Mali.
While French and African troops continue battling Salafist groups who have taken control of a large part of northern Mali, Garcia-Margallo promised political support to Traore in the country's transition to democracy with an eye toward the elections scheduled for July 31.
"We're completely on the side of the transition government of President Traore and we will continue wanting to help Mali get to a situation of justice, peace and security," Garcia-Margallo said.
Spain will make decisions in the future regarding military activity "insofar as the circumstances advise it and the nature of the mission changes, since an AFISMA mission (the African military support mission to Mali) isn't the same as a mission under the umbrella of the United Nations," Garcia-Margallo said.
About eight Spanish soldiers will remain in Bamako and 15 instructors will work at the KuliKoro training camp, located some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the capital, to train special forces and fire support, mortar and artillery units. EFE