The EU supports the G5 Sahel joint force
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, and Angel Losada, EU Special Representative for the Sahel, and the G5 Sahel Foreign Ministers (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) met on 5 June in Bamako, Mali, to discuss their strategic partnership. They want to move the establishment of the joint armed force forward to fight against terrorism and to secure, among other things, the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The European Union has announced that it will contribute EUR 50 million to finance this joint military force, which now numbers some 10 000 soldiers, twice its initial strength. While the main mission of this force will be to fight the region’s jihadist groups, it will also be responsible for fighting illicit flows. “What is also new within the framework of this kind of force, at the African continent level, is that it will also be responsible for fighting trafficking: drug trafficking, human trafficking and all other kinds of trafficking,” said Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. In a joint statement, both parties recognised “the involvement of young people in the societies of the Sahel” as a priority for their partnership. A second meeting with the youth of the Sahel was held in Bamako from 2-4 June as part of the “Voices of Youth for the Sahel” project. On 5 June, France presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council authorising the deployment of the G5 Sahel military force to fight jihadists and traffickers in the Sahel. “We cannot let the Sahel become a new haven for terrorists from all over the region,” said François Delattre, France’s representative to the UN. The headquarters of this force will be based in Mali. The G5 Sahel hopes to secure a UN mandate by the end of June. A summit of G5 Sahel countries’ leaders is scheduled for 2 July in Bamako, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron.