Germany’s Merkel visits Mali, offers help to fight extremism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany wants to strengthen its cooperation with Mali to improve development in the country’s unstable north to help fight against extremism, assure the implementation of a peace accord and stem migration to Europe.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita greeted Merkel at Bamako’s airport on Sunday where she spoke before meetings with him and other officials. She is expected to focus on the implementation of a peace deal reached in June 2015 between Mali’s government and armed groups.

Extremists who took hold of the north in 2012 were pushed out by French-led forces in 2013, but targeted attacks against peacekeepers and Malian security forces continue.

Germany contributes hundreds of soldiers to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Merkel will visit Niger on Monday and Ethiopia on Tuesday.

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