Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at the UNSC briefing on G5 Sahel Joint Force
We thank USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix for his briefing on the developments in the region. We are also grateful to the Permanent Representative of Chad and the representative of civil society of Burkina Faso for the information provided.
Russia agrees that, unfortunately, in the reporting period the situation in the Sahel not only did not improve, but deteriorated to a large extent. The region has seen a surge in terrorist activity and a spike in interethnic and intercommunal conflicts which has had a very negative impact on the security situation. The militants have killed dozens of servicemen and hundreds of civilians. These are horrific figures.
The humanitarian situation is continuing to worsen. The number of refugees and IDPs has surged which is presenting challenges for food security. This means that the countries in the region need to take urgent measures to tackle serious social and economic problems, strengthen the state institutions and protect human rights. If this does not occur, conditions for radicalizing the population, including radicalizing young people, will be amplified.
We support the efforts of the G5 Sahel states to deploy joint forces to combat terrorism and organized crime which have already become an important component of regional security. We are pleased to learn of the counter-terrorist operations of the joint forces in the reporting period. We note the need to further fine-tune coordination of action within the Joint Force itself, with MINUSMA and other military presences in the region.
It is clear that the proper functioning of the G5 Sahel Joint Force depends on two important factors: ensuring its stable and predictable financing and providing appropriate transport and logistical support. In this regard, we support the assistance provided by the Joint Force to MINUSMA in line with its mandate under the UNSC resolution 2584. At the same time, we recognize that the difficult conditions on the ground, asymmetric challenges and long-distance communication challenges require more sustained international support for the Force.
In this regard, we are prepared to have a substantive discussion in the UNSC of the proposals contained in the October letter of the UN Secretary-General regarding the expansion of assistance to the G5 Sahel Joint Force through the UN. Both options – either to create a small advisory office in the Joint Force’s Secretariat or to establish a full-fledged support office – require a clear understanding whether they correspond to the current conditions, as well as assessment of their feasibility, effectiveness, required costs and sources of financing. We hope that there will be dialogue with our partners on these matters.
We are convinced that it is important to continue to coordinate steps of the Africans and of the international community to combat terrorism in the Sahara-Sahel region. We believe that the initiative developed by the AU together with regional organizations to deploy an African Standby Force to Sahel will bear fruit.
Russia is closely following how the situation in the region unfolds. Military and technical assistance is provided to a number of countries, military and police forces are being trained. We are prepared to continue this work going forward.