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The Latest: $510 million pledged for West Africa’s Sahel

February 23, 2018

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU-Sahel meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. European Union leaders meet Friday with counterparts from Africa's Sahel in a show of support for the impoverished region fallen prey to extremists and a key transit point for migrants heading to Europe. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on European Union meeting on West Africa’s Sahel region (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

The European Union’s top diplomat says donors have pledged 414 million euros ($510 million) to five impoverished countries in West Africa’s Sahel region, much of it to fund a counterterror force.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the total “goes far beyond our initial expectations.”

Mogherini says 176 million euros will come from the EU budget and bilaterally from individual member countries.

The pledges came at a summit in Brussels of 32 leaders and 60 delegations to show political, development and security support for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force needs around 400 million euros ($500 million) for its mission along its mostly desert borders, including near Libya — the main jumping-off point for migrants bound for Italy.

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9:45 a.m.

The European Union is pledging 50 million euros ($61 million) to a joint counterterror force in West Africa’s Sahel region, as leaders gather Friday in a show of support for the impoverished nations.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the EU will “provide an additional 50 million euros to reinforce (the new force’s) operational capacities.”

He urges around 30 EU and African leaders in Brussels to support Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to donate “at the level required for what is at stake and what is needed.”

The 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force is seeking around 400 million euros for its mission along mostly desert borders, including near Libya — the main jumping-off point for African migrants bound for Italy.

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