, ADDIS ABABA, January 31- The European Union pledged 45 million euros ($61 million) in fresh funding for the conflict wracked Central African Republic on Friday, EU officials said.
“We are mobilising all available resources, not just development aid, to help the people of the Central African Republic and improve their security,” said EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.
The EU has already committed around 150 million euros to the crisis, and this month approved a 500 strong force to be deployed in CAR, alongside some 7,000 African and French troops.
The new funding will support the African Union led mission in CAR (MISCA) and also back elections, set to take place by the end of the year.
Just over half of the fresh funding promised 25 million euros will go to the military force, with the remainder earmarked for the political process.
Piebalgs said supporting security operations was crucial in CAR, “where the situation has been getting worse for more than a year now”.
“It’s important that there is security, and the African troops should be able to provide it. The only challenge is if there is more troops, there is more financing needed,” he told AFP.
The announcement comes ahead of a pledging conference on Saturday at the AU to drum up support for the crisis in CAR.
The CAR descended into chaos 10 months ago after rebels overthrew the government, sparking violence between the Christian majority and Muslim minority that has uprooted a million people out of a population of 4.6 million.
There are currently some 5,500 AU troops on the ground supporting 1,600 French soldiers to restore peace in CAR, which has been a major focus at the AU summit in Addis Ababa this week.
The country’s new interim leader Catherine Samba-Panza has called for more international troops in the country.
The United Nations believes at least 10,000 troops will eventually be needed to restore order, France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud said after the latest UN Security Council initiative on the crisis.