Foreign and Commonwealth Office – 2019 Press Release on Instability in the Sahel

Below is a press release issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 20/11/2019.

Statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel.

We share the concerns set out today by our briefers – and I’m grateful to the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso for his briefing – and set out in the Secretary-General’s report about the continued deterioration of the security situation across the Sahel, and the fact that violence appears to be spreading southwards to coastal West African states.

We commend and support the continued efforts of the G5 and the broader region to combat instability. In particular, we welcome the force’s recent operations in the Gourma region and the important commitment made by the G5 and wider West African states at September’s ECOWAS Summit to fight this growing insecurity.

The United Kingdom is scaling up its own efforts in the region to address instability, including through our deployment to MINUSMA next year, but it is vital that countries in the region play the leading role. In this regard. I underline three points:

First, the need for continued close cooperation with other actors in the region. It is only through strong partnership with MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane that the force will be able to deliver effect.

Second, the G5 should respond to current dynamics by focusing efforts on the tri-border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

And thirdly, the importance of full compliance with human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The United Kingdom reiterates the Secretary-General’s calls on the Burkina Faso authorities to investigate allegations of violations committed by Joint Forces personnel and urges the Malian authorities to conclude their investigations into allegations within their contingent. The steps already taken to operationalise the human rights compliance framework are welcome, and full implementation and adherence to the framework is vital to ensure the integrity and longevity of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The United Kingdom calls on all to meet the commitments made to the G5 Sahel. The United Kingdom calls its contribution of over $20 million through European Union and bilateral funds to the G5 Sahel Force in this financial year, and that’s against the backdrop of United Kingdom contribution of $116 million in bilateral development funding in addition to what is provided through multilateral organisations.