AU, EU vow continued support to peace, security efforts in Sahel region

FILE PHOTO: UN peacekeepers standing guard near Timbuktu’s airport in Mali, February 4, 2016. /VCG Photo

Expressing deep concern over the growing deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have strongly condemned attacks against civilian populations, against armed and security forces of the countries of the region, and all other regional and international forces.

According to a joint statement on Tuesday, during their latest meeting on Monday, the AU Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) and the EU Political and Security Committee (EU-PSC) have discussed the situations in the Sahel region, Sudan and Somalia.

The AU-PSC and the EU-PSC have noted that the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, have mainly been caused by social and economic unbalances, terrorism and organized crime, which is further aggravating the security and humanitarian situation in the region.

Re-affirming their commitment to continue supporting the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), they underscored the need for additional resources to be availed to the Mission, with a view to further enhancing its capacity to more effectively and efficiently discharge its mandate.

Also reaffirming their support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, they have called upon all stakeholders and international community to also support the Force by providing the necessary resources and building its capacity to enable it to effectively and efficiently discharge its mandate.

The AU PSC and the EU PSC have underlined the need to address the root causes and drivers of the deteriorating situation in the Sahel region, through comprehensive approaches that include development of peace-building/post-conflict reconstruction, as well as a political and a development dimension.

They have welcomed the creation of the Coalition for the Sahel, and in this regard reaffirmed the importance of respect for human rights and fight against impunity by all stakeholders and State authorities, including security and defense forces.

They have further noted the upcoming elections in Burkina Faso and Niger, and stressed the importance of ensuring their peaceful organization.

They have commended efforts being deployed by the G5 Sahel and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in combating the scourges of terrorism and organized crime, and noted the ongoing consultations between relevant stakeholders to deploy an additional 3,000 troops pursuant to AU Assembly Decision 792.

Welcoming the important and continued EU commitment to the region with the mobilization of various resources in the security, development and humanitarian domain, they noted that the ongoing revision of the EU Strategy for the Sahel region will be an opportunity to achieve a more result-oriented approach, striving for strengthened accountability.

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