Citing an “unforeseen emergency” that “requires immediate military assistance,” President Barack Obama is sending $10 million to France to help fight terrorism in Mali, Niger and Chad.
The announcement comes just days after Obama pledged to strengthen U.S. security partnerships in Africa during the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, and as the rise of Islamic extremists continues to wreak havoc in Iraq and Syria.
“I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France in its efforts to secure Mali, Niger, and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists. I further determine that these requirements cannot be met under the authority of the Arms Export Control Act or any other provision of law,” the president said Monday in a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The United States has been supporting French military operations against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) since its rapid expansion in Mali in 2013. France sent ground troops to Mali and conducted air strikes to quell the momentum of fighters from AQIM and other militias who had taken over an area of more than 250,000 square miles.
The Obama administration authorized a similar “drawdown” of Defense Department funds in February of 2013, providing $50 million in “defense services” to France and Chad for their counterterrorism efforts in Mali.
The $10 million “will be used to continue U.S. refueling and airlift services on a non-reimbursa