OUAGADOUGOU, OCTOBER 23 – The members of a Security Council mission ended their four-days mission in the Sahel with a stop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where they held meetings with the President of of the country and some members of his Cabinet. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré addressed the needs of a joint G5 Sahel force, one of the main items on the agenda of the mission. President Kaboré emphasised the importance of having sustainable and long-term resources, and expressed a preference for the establishment of a dedicated support office funded through assessed UN contributions. Arriving in Ouagadougou, the Council also paid homage to the victims of the 13 August 2017 terrorist attack against the Aziz Istanbul Cafe that killed 19 people.
According to Security Council report, in their meeting with Council members, several cabinet ministers highlighted the different manifestations of the security crisis in the country, such as the targeting of schools and the increased frequency of terrorist attacks, including through the use of improvised explosive devices. In this context, they emphasised that this crisis can be addressed by building the capacity of their security forces through better equipment and training, reducing economic inequality, decreasing poverty levels and youth unemployment, and ensuring that the territorial administration (including the provision of social services) reaches remote and border areas. Council members are now expected to evaluate the four options for UN support to the joint force recently presented by the Secretary-General (S/2017/869).
On 30 October, a Council ministerial meeting on this issue will be chaired by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Secretary-General António Guterres; Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the AU Commission; and the Foreign Minister of Mali, Abdulaye Diop, as rotating President of the G5 Sahel, are expected to brief the Council. The other members of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger) are also expected to participate at the meeting.
The issue of the joint force G5 Sahel was discussed also at its headquarters in Sévaré (Mali) where the Council received a briefing from the Force Commander, General Didier Dacko. In his presentation, General Dacko presented the force’s objective to bridge national strategies against the terrorist threat on a regional scale. He presented the timeline for reaching full operational capability by March 2018 and discussed the efforts to operationalise the seven battalions of the 5000-strong force. Responding to questions from Council members, General Dacko explained that even though the mission does not currently envision having a civilian component, it is counting on political and legal advisors to ensure compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. In his 16 October report, the Secretary-General argued that any UN support to the force would warrant the establishment of a robust compliance framework under the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (S/2017/869).
The mission, led by France, Italy and Ethiopia, was of strategic importance for the Italian delegation ahead of the beginning of the rotating presidency of the Council starting November 1. The Ambassador (with the notable exception of US PR Nikki Haley) had meetings also in Mauritania and in the Malian capital of Bamako where they met the representatives of the Comité de Suivi de l’Accord (CSA), the main follow-up mechanism to the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. (@OnuItalia)