UN chief welcomes deployment of regional force to combat terrorism in the Sahel

Children affected by violence attend temporary schools in the refugee camp of Kabelewa. Forced displacement in the Diffa region, Niger's poorest, is becoming regular and is conducted by the armed group Boko Haram. Photo: UNICEF/Sylvain Cherkaoui

23 June 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the deployment by the so-called Group of Five (G5) – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – of a joint force to tackle the threat of terrorism and organized crime in the Sahel region.

In a statement issued late last night by his spokesman, the Secretary-General welcomed the recent adoption of Security Council resolution 2359 (2017), which created the joint task force.

Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN's commitment, working closely with the African Union (AU) and other partners, “to do its utmost to help mobilise adequate resources for the attainment of the objectives of the Force as agreed by the leaders of the G5 and endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council.”

The unanimous adoption of the resolution on Wednesday coincided with the second anniversary of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. The agreement, signed on 20 June following Algeria-led mediation, included political and institutional reforms, and those relating to defence and security. It also encompasses humanitarian, economic and legal aspects.

In his statement, Mr. Guterres welcomed the “important progress” made by the Government and the groups, and stressed the need “for expeditious progress” on the remaining aspects of the agreement for sustaining peace in Mali and the region.

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