Members of the UN Security Council will travel to the Sahel this weekend to push Mali to return to civilian power after two military coups in nine months in a region plagued by jihadist violence.
“The Sahel region is exposed to all kinds of challenges,” Niger’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdou Abarry told AFP.
“This is where the stakes are in the fight against terrorism, humanitarian issues, the impact of climate change and good governance,” said Abarry.
“The situation in the Sahel remains very fragile”, said French ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Riviere, who is leading the trip to Mali together with Abarry.
Riviere spoke of the need to stabilize Mali and “discuss how to support the efforts of the G5 Sahel countries to ensure their security”.
In Mali, thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, while swathes of the country have little or no state presence in the face of a jihadist insurgency.
For the 15 members of the Security Council, traveling to a country ruled by a military junta is not tantamount to endorsing its two recent coups d’etat, several Western and African diplomats told AFP.
The UN Security Council is heading to the region to support regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States and “insist on respecting electoral deadlines and, if this is not possible, at least have a realistic timetable,” one of the diplomats told AFP.