The European Union on Friday approved a €42-million grant to support peace and security programs in the Horn of Africa region.

Ranieri Sabatucci, ambassador of the EU delegation to African Union, Mahboub Maalim, the executive secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and Martin Ledolter, managing director of the Austrian Development Agency, were present at the inking ceremony.

“The support will be critical in building the capacity of IGAD’s core peace and security programs in preventive diplomacy, trans-national security, counter-terrorism and mediation and enable us to better handle the complex peace and security challenges faced by the region,” Maalim said.

IGAD, an eight-nation East African security bloc, has been mediating the peace process of the conflict in South Sudan since mid-December 2013.

Sabatucci told Anadolu Agency that the donation “is significant because of the substantive resources going into this effort”.

“But it is also significant because we work with a partner, a legitimate partner (that is IGAD).

“We understand that peace and security are the responsibilities of Africans, of the continent and of the region. So we look for partners who are responsible for that; who will have to do the work in order to promote this process. We are happy to be there supporting it,” he said.

He added: “But we cannot want peace more than the people want it, more than the people, more than the institutions, more than the government and if they want it, of course peace can take place. The best we can do is to support it.”

The four-year program which the grant will fund includes: improving IGAD’s early warning for conflict and its response mechanism, enabling cooperation between IGAD and national governments of the region, enhancing the skills of IGAD and national governments in the regions for preventive diplomacy and mediation, and capacity building and core staffing for IGAD’s peace and security division.

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