The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Ma Zhaoxu (China):
The members of the Security Council were briefed on 15 November by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Permanent Secretary of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel), Maman Sidikou, the High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, Pierre Buyoya, and the Deputy Secretary-General for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response of the European Union, Pedro Serrano, on the activities of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the continued determination of the G-5 Sahel States to unite their efforts to address the impact of terrorism and transnational organized crime in the Sahel region. They showed appreciation for the continued efforts of the G-5 Sahel States towards the full and effective operationalization of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel, including through the conduct of six operations on all boundary zones, further progress in the deployment of troops, the full operationalization of the three sector headquarters, as well as the launch of the G-5 Sahel defence college. They took note of the decision of the Heads of States of the G-5 Sahel to relocate the central command post of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel in Bamako. They encouraged the G-5 Sahel States to take appropriate measures in order for the joint force of the G-5 Sahel to conduct new operations and to be fully operational as soon as possible, including through the swift adoption of a schedule of operations and the full deployment of all troops. They welcomed the continued mobilization of the Permanent Secretary of the G-5 Sahel.
The members of the Security Council commended all relevant donors for their mobilization in support to the joint force of the G-5 Sahel. They underlined the critical need for support to materialize through a swift disbursement of all pledges announced, in order to accelerate the full and effective operationalization of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel. They welcomed the significant amount of contributions already disbursed or in the process of being disbursed. They called on donors who have not yet honoured their commitments to do so urgently. They recognized the valuable work of the European Union coordination hub in the identification of the needs of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel, as well as in the coordination of bilateral contributions in support to the joint force of the G-5 Sahel, and encouraged the European Union to continue to work closely with the Permanent Secretariat of the G-5 Sahel on this matter.
The members of the Security Council encouraged the G-5 Sahel States to take appropriate action as soon as possible in order for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to be in a position to deliver its specified operational and logistical support to the joint force of the G-5 Sahel through the technical agreement between the United Nations, the European Union and the G-5 Sahel. They recalled that the contribution of the European Union to the technical agreement for an amount of €10 million can finance any type of support referenced in the technical agreement, including engineering activities to assist in the preparation of joint force of the G-5 Sahel operational bases. They recalled that further contributions to this mechanism are needed to enable MINUSMA to better address the needs of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel.
The members of the Security Council recalled that a military response to the threats faced by the G-5 Sahel can only be effective if complemented by full, effective and inclusive implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, if accompanied by the rapid and effective implementation of inclusive regional strategies encompassing security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues, as well as if conducted in full compliance with international law, by taking active steps to minimize the risk of harm to civilians in all areas of operations. They encouraged combined efforts from political, security and development actors in support of long-term stabilization. They welcomed the mobilization of the Peacebuilding Commission on the Sahel region.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the operationalization of a robust compliance framework to prevent, investigate, address and publicly report violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law related to the joint force of the G-5 Sahel (“the compliance framework”), as called for in resolution 2391 (2017), and encouraged continued efforts on that front. They underlined that adherence to the compliance framework is essential in ensuring the required trust among the populations, and thus the effectiveness and the legitimacy of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel. They took positive note of the measures taken to this date by the Government of Mali in response to the serious human rights violations related to the operations of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel investigated by MINUSMA, and called upon G-5 Sahel States to ensure that those responsible for crimes involving violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law are held accountable and brought to justice without undue delay. They further took positive note of progress made in the deployment of the police component of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel, with a view towards ensuring the necessary coordination between the joint force of the G-5 Sahel and the criminal justice systems of G-5 Sahel States, and encouraged continued efforts in this regard, as well as international support thereto.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the centrality of the United Nations integrated strategy for the Sahel in providing a comprehensive framework to strengthen governance, security and development in the Sahel region. They welcomed the launch of the United Nations support plan for the Sahel on the margins of the African Union summit held in Nouakchott in June 2018. They supported the efforts of the G-5 Sahel to revise and accelerate the implementation of its Priority Investment Plan and called for donors’ mobilization at the coordination conference to be hosted in Nouakchott on 6 December. They further welcomed the partnership agreement between the G-5 Sahel and the Sahel Alliance, with a view to foster the financing and upscaling of developments projects aimed at consolidating peace in vulnerable border areas identified by G-5 Sahel States.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the continued personal commitment of the Secretary-General to support the operationalization of the joint force of the G-5 Sahel. They commended the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union for their positive roles on this issue.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the continued deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel region. They expressed their intention to continue to monitor closely the situation as well as to discuss international support to the joint force of the G-5 Sahel, after its full operationalization and in parallel to its first operational results.