NEW YORK, JANUARY 20 – With West Africa high on its agenda, the UN Security Council strongly condemned on Friday all terrorist attacks in the region, particularly those carried out by Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin, stressing the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and to address the conditions conducive to its spread.
In a Presidential Statement read out in a formal meeting, the 15-member body reiterated its deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by the activities of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin. “In this regard,” the statement read, “the Security Council calls upon the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the UN appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.”
The Council expressed its support to the work of Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the UN Special Envoy for West Africa and Sahel, and for UNOWAS, the Un office in the region. The Council went on to welcome recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the holding of free and peaceful elections in Cabo Verde and Ghana, and the outcome of the political dialogue in Guinea, as well as welcoming steps taken to develop and institute political, institutional and constitutional reforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
West Africa is the region of origin of more than half of the migrants and refugees arriving in Italy. The statement encouraged new progresses made in the implementation of the strategy for Sahel launched by former Italian premier and former UN Special Envoy, Romano Prodi. The declaration put the spotlight on themes like conflict prevention, peacebuilding, regional cooperation as useful tools to tackle transnational and transversal threats.
The adoption of the Presidential Statement marked three weeks of work of the Italian delegation in the UN Security Council with West Africa high on its agenda. The Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi spoke on January 12 on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin region and on the fight against Boko Haram; on the next day, Cardi took part in a briefng by Chambras. The Ambassador spoke in consultations on Mali on the 18th; on the 19th he voted in favour of a resolution on Gambia to assert the international community’s support to President elect Adama Barrow. Since the beginning of 2017, Italy announced the opening of an Embassy in Niger and on January 10 re-opened its diplomatic post in Libya, temporarily closed two years ago for security reasons.
Italy works hard on West Africa and the Sahel in the belief that the region is crucial to solve current global emergencies, from massive migrations to illegal smuggling, from criminality to terrorism, not just in Africa but also in Europe. “Build the peace of tomorrow” is the philosophy inspiring the mandate in the Un Security Council, confirmed on January 10, when the Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano spoke during an open debate of conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy, in line with the Agenda for Peace announced at the onset of his mandate by the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (@OnuItalia)