Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy at a UN Security Council briefing on peace and security in Africa
We welcome Minister of Foreign affairs of Burkina Faso Alpha Barry. We thank Assistant-Secretary-General Ms. Bintou Keita, as well as other briefers for the information they shared.
We agree with the alarming assessments of the situation in the Sahel that we heard today. Security threats in this part of Africa have reached an unprecedentedly high level. The geography of terrorist activity, drug trafficking and organized crime is expanding, extremist ideology wins new adepts. Unfortunately, tragic reports about deaths of dozens of military officers or civil citizens from the hands of criminals arrive almost weekly from various countries of the region. As highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General, this threat has already expanded to the states of the Gulf of Guinea.
The roots of these phenomena are well established. In Sahel we “reap the fruit” of ruined statehood in Libya, which resulted from a coarse foreign interference. Without stabilization in the region – our interlocutors in Mali and Burkina Faso mentioned this recently when the Council was on a mission in these countries – it will be almost impossible to ensure sustainable stabilization in the region.
We welcome the efforts of G5 Sahel to establish Joint Force to counter terrorism and organized crime. It appears that over a short period the Joint Force has become an important element of regional stability. We commend that within the reporting period the Joint Force held four operations in all zones of its responsibility. There are reports that another counter-terrorist operation of Sahel divisions that finished on 17 November had been a success. We welcome the elaboration of the legal status of Joint Force’s presence at the territory of G5 Sahel states, as well as the signing of a protocol on intelligence cooperation.
There is still much to be done. In particular, it is concern-raising that the issue with choosing a location for permanent headquarters of the Joint Force remains unsolved. It would be very positive to enhance material and technical capacity of the Joint Force within a short term and advance the level of training for its military personnel.
Full-fledged functioning of G5 Sahel's forces surely depends on their material capacity and stable and predictable financing. We see that funds foreign donors promised to allocate are now coming to the region. However, not all obligations have been implemented so far. We support assistance provided to the Joint Force by MINUSMA, UNODC, and OHCHR.
We believe further coordinated steps from both Africans and international community aimed at countering terrorism in Sahara-Sahel region are vital. It is self-evident, that this evil cannot be eradicated only by military measures. We have to effectively counter the spread of extremist ideology, embark on solving the urgent social and economic issues, strengthen state institutions, develop culture of respect for human rights. In this regard we support the decision made by ECOWAS member states at the summit in Niamey to invest up to 1 billion USD in achieving these goals.
In conclusion let me highlight that Russia closely monitors the development of the situation in the region. We already provide relevant military and technical assistance to a number of countries, train police and military staff. In general, we expect that the armed forces of G5 Sahel will soon become an effective tool to restore and maintain peace in West Africa.