The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Karen Pierce (United Kingdom):
On 20 November 2019, the members of the Security Council were briefed on the activities of the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S).
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about the security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel. They recognized that terrorism and intercommunal violence have caused the loss of numerous innocent lives, as well as unprecedented displacement of civilians, people in need of assistance and children without access to education. They encouraged the countries to convene dialogues in affected communities to resolve intercommunal violence.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the recent steps taken by the G5 Sahel States towards the operationalization of the FC-G5S, including by conducting five operations since May 2019, notably operation Bourgou IV, which led to the neutralization and arrest of numerous terrorists and dismantled some of their logistic capabilities. They noted and further encouraged progress in the deployment of the police and civilian components of the force as well as in the implementation of the compliance framework to prevent, investigate, address and publicly report human rights law violations and human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in coordination with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). They also requested responsible Governments to finalize their inquiries into alleged human rights violations and abuses by FC-G5S elements, and to hold those responsible accountable.
The members of the Security Council encouraged the G5 Sahel States to ensure that the FC-G5S continues to scale up its level of operation over time in order to demonstrate increased tangible operational results.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the FC-G5S’ request to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on 3 October 2019, for the provision of life support consumables in accordance with paragraph 39 of resolution 2480 (2019). They noted with appreciation that MINUSMA is currently addressing this request and encouraged a full and positive response.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the contributions that have been disbursed or are in the process of disbursement in support to the FC-G5S and urged partners who had not done so to fulfill their pledges. They commended the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and other contributing Member States for their critical roles in supporting the operationalization of the FC-G5S. They encouraged continuing this support.
The members of the Security Council also acknowledged that terrorism poses a threat to the whole of West Africa. In this respect, they were particularly encouraged by the commitment of the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during their extraordinary Summit of 14 September 2019 in Burkina Faso to step up their efforts to fight terrorism. They took note of the new “Partnership for security and stability in the Sahel”, announced by France and Germany, encompassing the countries of the region and their partners in a spirit of shared responsibility, and looked forward to receiving more information about it.
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks perpetrated in Mali and Burkina Faso, in which many soldiers and civilians died. They expressed their deepest condolences to the victims’ families, as well as to Burkina Faso, France and Mali. They reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that those responsible should be held accountable.
They expressed particular concern about the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso. They welcomed the Secretary-General’s actions to scale-up and adapt United Nations support, in line with the priorities of the Government of Burkina Faso. They requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide regular updates on this integrated cross-pillar process to the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as to the Security Council through its regular reporting on the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
The members of the Security Council recalled that a military response to the threats faced by the G5 Sahel can only be effective if embedded in the implementation of inclusive regional and national strategies encompassing security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues, with a strong involvement and leadership by the Sahel’s Governments, and ensuring the rule of law on the entire States’ territories. They stressed in that respect the importance of the full, effective and inclusive implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali (“the Agreement”). They noted with a significant sense of impatience that, despite some progress, there is still significant work to be done in the implementation of key provisions of the Agreement and therefore urged the Malian parties to accelerate this implementation. They recognized the role of women in such efforts and called for their full, effective and meaningful participation in the implementation of the Agreement.
The members of the Security Council encouraged efforts to foster greater coherence and coordination within the United Nations system as well as with partners in the region. They called for the efficient implementation of the United Nations Support Plan for the Sahel. They encouraged UNOWAS and the G5 Sahel to identify areas of complementarity in their respective activities. They welcomed the engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in fostering peacebuilding support in the Sahel. They also acknowledged the importance of enhancing the United Nations-African Union partnership in support of the G5 Sahel.
In order to improve information sharing on the activities of the FC-G5S, and pursuant to resolution 2391 (2017) and the technical agreement between the United Nations, the European Union and the G5 Sahel (2018), the members of the Security Council encouraged the FC-G5S, through MINUSMA, to exchange information and report regularly on its activities to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council.
The members of the Security Council expressed their intention to continue to monitor closely the security situation in the Sahel, the activities of the FC-G5S as well as the international support it receives.