Joint Force of G5 Sahel needs sustainable, predictable and necessary support to deal with terrorist and armed groups in the vast Sahel region, said India at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing on Friday (local time).
R. Madhu Sudan, Counselor at Permanent Mission of India to the UN said that the Joint Force of G5 Sahel is the best hope for long-term regional ownership of maintaining peace and security in the region.
“The G5 Sahel Force needs sustainable, predictable and necessary support to deal with terrorist and armed groups. Sahel countries have shown resolve and determination to take on terrorism. We need to support them unequivocally. Failure to do so could result in serious political and security implications in the region and beyond,” he said in a statement.
According to India’s statement, the security situation in the G5 Sahel countries, particularly in Mali and the Liptako Gourma tri-border area shared by Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso continues to be a matter of serious concern.
The attacks by terrorist and armed groups have increased in recent months. The accounted civilian death toll from these attacks in Niger alone is estimated to have crossed 600. Earlier this month, in the western region of Tillaberi in Niger 69 people were killed. In June earlier this year, more than 100 people were killed in a village in Burkina Faso.
“I would also like to recall the Council’s recent visit to Mali and Niger, and our interactions with leadership and various stakeholders who unequivocally mentioned that addressing the threat of terrorism is a pre-condition for achieving any sustainable peace in the Sahel region. Countering terrorism in Sahel is not just the responsibility of countries in the region, it is an obligation of the international community as well,” Madhu Sudan said.
He added that the Council has been grappling with the issue of support to regional security initiative such as the Joint Force of G5 Sahel for the last three years and has remained divided on the ways and modalities of support to the regional security initiative.
Asserting that the threat of terrorism in Sahel is real, the Counselor at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN said that the countries of the Sahel region look up to the Security Council, to enable them to fight the terrorist groups more effectively.
Speaking about a few points, he said: “We all acknowledge that the security situation in Sahel has become more complex and violent in the recent years. The role of MINUSMA continues to be critical in supplementing the efforts of Malian authorities to bring stability in the volatile northern and central regions. At the same time, the operational support by MINUSMA to the Joint Force of G5 Sahel has not been proved enough. It is, therefore important that traditional peacekeeping needs to be complemented by regional operations to neutralize terrorist groups and entities.
Second, the Council has been reiterating its support for the African solutions for African issues. The Council must walk the talk and support the Joint Force of G5 Sahel, including by providing the Joint Force necessary financial support through UN assessed contributions.
Thirdly, the Council has been discussing the various options of support to the Joint Force of G5 Sahel. “We have witnessed the limitations of logistics support to the Joint Force by MINUSMA. This approach has burdened MINUSMA affecting the implementation of its core tasks.”
The Secretary-General has now provided two options which include an Advisory Office to the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat, and second, a dedicated UN support office in the Sahel, he further said in the statement.