The Government has announced a further €2.5m in support of the humanitarian and recovery effort in Mali.

The funding is in addition to the €1.8m already allocated by Ireland to Mali this year.

Representatives from 80 countries, including Minister of State with responsibility for Trade and Development Joe Costello, are attending a donor conference in Brussels today.

Yesterday, the European Union pledged €500m to help Mali rebuild after months of conflict.

Ahead of the conference, Mali's President Dioncounda Traoré said his country will hold presidential elections on 28 July.

"I do believe it will be kept to the 28th of July, we will do everything for the presidential elections to start on that day," Mr Traore said.

The Malian government is seeking roughly €2bn in support from the conference, which is being organised by the EU, to help fund a €4.34bn plan to keep the peace and help restore infrastructure to the country.

The former French colony in West Africa sought urgent military support from Paris in January to halt advances by Islamist rebels who had seized control of the northern two-thirds of the country.

Since the intervention, Islamist rebels have been pushed back from the main urban centres of northern Mali into the mountains and desert, but the French action has failed to stop rebels from waging a guerrilla war.

Over a year of conflict has also resulted in the exodus of tens of thousands of refugees to the surrounding countries of Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger.

France is looking to withdraw thousands of its troops and hand over security duties to a UN peacekeeping mission.