The UK Government do not have a bilateral aid programme in Mali, but we are the second-largest humanitarian donor, providing £13 million in 2013. We have had discussions with our EU and multilateral partners, including the UN, on the importance of co-ordinated resumption of aid.
The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. We are encouraging the resumption of aid by bilateral partners. In May, there will be a donor conference on Mali, which is an important step, not just as a pledging conference. There is a political crisis in Mali, and the solution is political, which is why we welcome the recent announcement by the Malian authorities to initiate a commission on dialogue and reconciliation.
I thank my hon. Friend for her encouraging answer, but may I ask her to go further and consider whether the UK Government could work with France and the EU to address the fragility across the region and deliver co-ordinated and sustained development assistance to the Sahel and the whole region?
I thank my right hon. Friend. This very issue was discussed at the recent Development Ministers meeting. Stability in the Sahel—the wider region—is of absolute importance. The UK has committed £78 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel through various United Nations agencies, and we continue to work right across the region to create stability and peace.