(Bloomberg) -- The European Union will likely accept Rwanda’s request to fund its deployment in Mozambique, where it’s helping to fight an insurgency that’s disrupted TotalEnergies SE’s $20 billion natural gas project.
Rwanda asked “for financial support through the European Peace Facility, and the high representative is determined to respond favorably,” Herve Blejean, head of EU military staff, said this week in Brussels. The East African nation has deployed at least 2,000 soldiers and police to Mozambique’s gas-rich Cabo Delgado province to help remove the Islamic State-linked militants.
EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell is due to visit Mozambique Jan. 30-31.
Rwanda deployed in Mozambique at the request of President Filipe Nyusi in July to try and stop the insurgency and revive TotalEnergies’s project. The southeast African nation is looking to its gas resources to help it transform of one of the world’s poorest nations.
Rwanda was joined in the war later by troops from the Southern African Development Community, of which it’s not part. SADC, as the 16-member bloc is known, said this month it will extend its stay until mid-April, while Rwanda plans to continue until the mission is complete.
SADC’s deployment remains uncertain amid questions about the sustainability of funding -- privately-owned Lesotho Times reported that the nation’s government was considering withdrawing its soldiers.
Rwandan forces have mainly been stationed around a coastal stretch from the town of Palma, north of TotalEnergies’s project, and south to Mocimboa da Praia, which had been the epicenter of the insurgency. They’ve so far managed to clear the insurgents from vast areas they had previously controlled, winning praise from the local population.
The Mozambican government is hopeful that the security gains Rwanda has helped make will convince TotalEnergies to resume construction at the project that’s been halted for more than a year because of the violence.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said in September the country was financing its own involvement, but would welcome help from “friends.” Rwanda’s government spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment on Friday.
Meanwhile, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan met Nyusi in the Cabo Delgado capital of Pemba on Friday, where she reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring security. Hassan’s visit came after Blejean told European lawmakers that neighboring Tanzania had rejected Mozambican refugees. The United Nations last year raised similar concerns.
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