French defense minister warns Africa risks catching alight, calls for greater European involvement

French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie urged European nations to play a greater role helping to stabilize Africa on Monday, warning that the continent risks "catching alight."

She said ethnic conflict across west, central and east Africa was leading to states falling apart and cautioned that European nations could face an influx of millions of immigrants unless action was taken to prevent war.

Speaking to a conference of defense experts, Alliot-Marie also said unrest across Africa could encourage the development of terrorism, destabilize states and hit the European economy by pushing up the price of oil and other raw materials.

She said Europe had to develop the means to help African nations to stamp out incipient crises before they spin out of control, AP reported. V.A.

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