19 Mar 2016 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 19 MAR (NAMPA) - Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has called on Namibia's support in the fight against terrorists insurgency in his country.
Keïta said his country is being threaten by islamist terrorists who murder innocent children and peace-keepers.
'Instead of using money for the development of the country, the funds are diverted to strengthen the security in the country,' the Malian leader said during the official talks with President Hage Geingob on Friday.
Mali, a former French colony in West Africa has been racked by an Islamist insurgency for the past three years after a military coup there overthrew a democratically elected president in 2012, destabilising what had been one of the most secure nations in the region.
The Malian president said a peace agreement between the Islamists rebels and the government signed last year failed to stop the attacks and is hanging by the thread.
Last year, after the signing of the peace agreement, five United Nations workers were killed in an assault on a hotel in central Mali.
Five months before that, militants killed five people at a restaurant in Bamako.
In his reply, President Geingob said Africans have to hold hands and help each other to fight terrorism.
'We must hold hands to address the issues of terrorism. Mali needs peace so that we can cooperate and strengthen our cooperation to develop our two countries,' he said.
Namibia has over the years sent out solidarity messages to the people of Mali when they were engulfed in conflict with Islamist militants.
In 2012, the Namibian government contributed N.dollars 9 million to the African Union Commission to help fight Islamist militants in Mali.
Geingob indicated that peace is one of the conducive environment that attract investors in the country.
Keïta reaffirmed Mali's commitment to further strengthening bilateral relationship and friendship as well as exploring other areas of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
He said Namibia and Mali need to deepen their bilateral relations.
In 1998, Namibia and Mali established two agreements, which include the establishment of the Joint Commission of Cooperation between Mali and Namibia as well as an agreement on the cultural, scientific and technical co-operation.
Geingob said Namibia and Mali are mineral rich countries, but people are still poor.
Despite some problems Mali is facing currently, the country is self-suffient in food security, Geingob noted.
'Mali can feed its own people,' he said, adding that Namibia has a lot to learn from Mali in food production and agriculture field in general.
Keïta arrived in Namibia on Friday afternoon for a four-day state visit.
The Malian Head of State will be one of the guests of honour at Namibias 26th independence anniversary celebrations slated for Monday in Windhoek.
On Saturday, the Malian leader is expected to lay a wreath at Heroes Acre before he departs to Arandis for a familialisation tour of the Husab uranium mine.
He is also scheduled to visit the Namibian Port Authority in Walvis Bay on Sunday.
The Malian leader and his entourage are expected to leave for their home country on Tuesday.