France, committed to assisting the countries of the Sahel - 25 November 2015 [fr]
Security Council - Peace and Security in Sahel - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Representative of France to the United Nations - 25 November 2015
I thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Ms. Guebre Sellassie, for her statement and I would like to reiterate my country’s full support to the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. I will focus my statement on three points.
First, the full implementation of the peace agreement in Mali is a crucial step in stabilizing the country and the Sahel.
I take the opportunity to reiterate our condolences to the Government of Mali and the bereaved families of the victims, as well as to other States whose nationals who died in the terrorist attack in Bamako on 20 November.
That attack was hardly fortuitous. The meeting for the implementation of the peace agreement was to take place that very same day. We must stop those who are seeking to derail the peace process.The United Nations, and more broadly speaking the international community as a whole, must continue to fully support the stabilization of Mali and the implementation of the peace agreement.
As announced by President Hollande on 22 October at the conference for the economic recovery and development of Mali hosted by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, France is providing more than €360 million in aid to Mali and nearly €80 million for the northern regions for the period 2015-2017.
Secondly, France is fully committed to assisting the countries of the Sahel in addressing the challenges before them. In addition to its activities within the European Union and the United Nations, France is continuing to develop its Sahelo-Saharan strategy in a comprehensive approach that brings together security, governance and development issues. France’s Sahelo-Saharan strategy covers activities in six countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, the Niger and Chad.
The strategy is focused on four priorities: contributing to improving the people’s living conditions, strengthening States’ capacities to fight terrorism and major trafficking networks, countering radicalization by supporting the development of education and the media, and encouraging and facilitating regional security cooperation. In that context, France allocates between €400 million and €500 million a year in bilateral assistance to the six countries covered by our strategy, all of which are priority recipients of our assistance.
The terrorist attacks perpetrated in Paris on 13 November only strengthen our conviction that the international community must pool its efforts to combat terrorism. In the Sahel, since August 2014 France’s Operation Barkhane has been our military contribution to combating terrorism and improving the security situation in the Sahel region, with 3,500 French soldiers on the ground in five countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger and Chad. Barkhane operations have led to the neutralization and capture of more than 100 terrorists in one year, including many leaders, while inflicting long-term damage on the operational and logistical capacities of terrorist groups.
My third and final point is that the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel should help the countries of the Sahel to establish projects that will benefit their people.
The Strategy should improve coordination among the different United Nations agencies in the Sahel and make them more effective. Its goal is also and above all to help the Sahel countries to develop transnational projects in the three areas of governance, security and resilience.
It is essential for the people of the Sahel to begin to enjoy the dividends of the United Nations commitment. We therefore eagerly await the recommendations of the forthcoming strategic review of the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and hope that it will further strengthen the coherence of United Nations action in the Sahel and in West Africa.
During the past year, the countries of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) have strengthened their cooperation, as demonstrated by the second summit of Heads of State in N’Djamena on 20 November, in which the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General participated. Joint military operations led by the G-5 Sahel States, with the support of Barkhane, represent a concrete response to the terrorist threat by the States of the region.
France joins the Special Envoy in her goal of conjugating regional and international efforts on behalf of the Sahel.