Wednesday, October 27, 2021

NATO Africa studying ‘alternatives’ to strengthen anti-jihadist force, says UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said NATO is studying options to increase support for the multinational G5 Sahel joint force in the troubled three-border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, where jihadist violence has killed thousands. The letter, seen by AFP on Thursday.

The UN chief said in a recent letter to the Security Council that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could provide such support through its support and procurement agency.

Guterres said he was convinced of the need to create a UN Assistance Office for the G5 Sahel force, which includes about 5,000 troops from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, which would be funded by UN contributions .

He said such technology would be “the most effective approach to providing lasting and predictable support to the combined force”.

But the United States, the biggest financial backer of the United Nations, has so far rejected the plan, which has been backed by France and several African countries.

In June, US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Jeffrey DeLaurentis said his country wanted to maintain a clear separation between efforts to fight terrorism and peacekeeping efforts to protect UN neutrality.

Over the years, the United States has stated that it prioritizes aid directly to the Sahel countries rather than increasing UN involvement.

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“The creation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force is, despite the current challenges, a strong expression of political will by the five major Sahel states, which deserves the support of the international community,” Guterres said.

The UN chief said, “While all negotiators underlined their strong support to the G5 Sahel joint force as an extraordinary initiative that required international support, there is no convergence of views within the international community on how to support it.” to be done.”

The Security Council, currently led by Kenya, is set to send delegates to visit Mali and Niger at the end of the month to study the security situation.

Guterres pointed out that despite the African Union’s desire to play an integral role in promoting cooperation in the region, “the AU stressed that it needed financial support from another donor to manage the military support of the combined force.” will be”.

The United Nations currently provides fuel, water and food to the joint force through the Minusma Peace Mission in Mali, as well as bilateral medical assistance over the years.

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