This is one of the strong question statements in the final communiqué of the Nouakchott Summit. Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso want to restore peace at all costs in the Sahel where extremists are rife.
“The fight against terrorism continues with determination and better overall coherence,” the statement said. Faced with the spread of the terrorist threat in the sub-region, the Heads of State of the Sahel stressed “the urgency for collective and energetic action to eradicate it.”
While hailing the “positive dynamics engaged,” they insisted on the need to intensify the fight on all fronts of the national and international forces against terrorist groups, and called for the further implementation of the Roadmap adopted in Pau, France and the G5 Sahel Joint Force Action Plan.
In this regard, the presidents renewed their commitment “not to tolerate any violation of human rights and respect for international humanitarian law.” For that reason, they undertook to strengthen the judicialization of the fields of operations, in particular to beef up the power of the provost component of their national armies and the Joint Force, and to the adhesion of all the forces of defense and security to the human rights compliance framework.
To triumph over jihadism, the G5 Sahel pleaded for “an accumulated military commitment of the international community in the global fight against terrorism in the Sahel” and expressed its gratitude to France, to the United States, as well as to Minusma for their “Crucial support” to the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
In their discussions, the Heads of State greeted the renewal and strengthening of the mandate of Minusma, the prospects for the deployment of the first soldiers of the Takuba Force in the summer of 2020, of a brigade from Great Britain in support of Minusma in 2020, and a contingent of 3,000 men from the African Union (AU).
The security situation in Mali was at the heart the Summit of discussions, during which the Sahelian presidents reiterated “their support for the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement resulting from the Algiers Process.”
In addition, they welcomed the “resumption of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process, and the return of the first units of the reconstituted Malian Armed Forces (Famar) to the north, which remains to be finalized in Kidal.”
In recent weeks, a wave of protest demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was held. To calm people down, the Economic Community of West African States dispatched a ministerial mission to Mali. The G5 Sahel condemned “all violence and urges the parties to the dialogue (and) encourages ECOWAS to continue efforts to ensure social peace, which is essential for the implementation of reforms and the fight against terrorism.”
The leaders of the Sahel welcomed “the commitment of additional Barkhane Force personnel over the past six months and the operationalization of the Joint Command Mechanism facilitating coordination between the G5 Sahel Joint Force and the Barkhane Force".
Besides, Mauritanian President Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani and his hosts welcomed “the resumption of sustained operations in the Three Borders area, the successes recorded by national forces, the Joint Force and international forces. They (also) welcomed the neutralization of the head of Aqmi (Abdelmalek Droukdel) on June 3, 2020 in the Tessalit region by the Barkhane Force and its allies.”
They also extolled “the success of Boma's Angry Flash Operation in the Lake Chad region in April 2020 against Boko Haram factions, which are opening another front in Chad and Niger.”
In the assessment of their strengths, the Heads of State are delighted with “the adoption by ECOWAS of a priority action plan 2020-2024 to eradicate terrorism (in the community space), encourage its implementation effective and welcome consultations with stakeholders.”
In that regard, as part of this action plan, they magnified “the provision of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, support in order to participate in securing the Three Borders of the Liptako Zone.”
However, the presidents noted “the persistence of a second front in the Lake Chad area in Niger and Nigeria and a building of local terrorist capacities in these areas, calling into question the results obtained during Operation Anger de Boma”, pointing out “the extension of the terrorist threat to Cote d'Ivoire following the recent attack on the Ivorian garrison at Kafolo.”
For greater efficiency on the ground, the G5 Sahel intends to continue strengthening the military capacities of member states. Consequently, the Heads of State thanked the European Union (EU) for “(its) commitment and (its) decisive role in terms of advice, training, equipment and infrastructure. These efforts are valued and made consistent within the framework of the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S).”
Likewise, G 5 Sahel countries welcomed “the commitment and contributions of other partners, particularly the United States,” while insisting on the need to continue and strengthen the equipment support of the defense and security forces of the G5 Sahel member states and the Joint Force.
Fuethermore, the leaders of the Sahel encouraged the widening and diversification of the support activities of all partners to all member countries of the G5 Sahel, notably in terms of training, based on the needs and specificities of each one.
Aware that the return of the State and the administrations to fragile areas is a major act in the war against jihadist groups, the G5 Sahel has taken note of the “gradual redeployment of the administrations and the return of some displaced people to their communities, thanks to security operations.”
Nevertheless, the heads of state acknowledged, efforts remain to be made, not only for the effective return of the populations, but also for the implementation of development programs hampered or delayed with the occurrence of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, they stressed “the importance of carrying out, as soon as possible, initiatives at the regional, national and local level, in favor of intercommunity dialogue, reconciliation and the treatment of substantive issues on sharing resources or land disputes.”
Many jihadists in the Sahel believe that poverty among large segments of the population is a factor that facilitates the recruitment of jihadist groups. This is the reason why, “the mobilization of resources for the development of (this) space continues.”
Thus, the Heads of State recalled “the importance of the Priority Investment Program (PIP) for the populations of the Sahel and for the fight against terrorism and (invited) the international community to release all the funds promised at the Nouakchott Summit on December 6, 2018.”
These leaders are satisfied with the implementation of an integrated territorial approach consistent with the Integrated Priority Action Framework (Capi) of the G5 Sahel, adopted at the February 2020 Summit in Nouakchott, before calling for its diligent implementation.
The crisis in the Sahel, being also a question of development, the presidents of this immense area welcomed the holding, on June 16, 2020, of the meeting of ministers in charge of development of the member countries of the G5 Sahel which looked into the execution of the PIP. However, they instructed the said ministers to speed up “the implementation of development programs, in coordination with G5 Sahel partners.”
At the invitation of Ghazouani, the current President of the G5 Sahel, the heads of state of the member countries of this organization and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron met on June 30, 2020 in Nouakchott.
The objective was to take stock of the implementation of the road map agreed at the Pau Summit (France), held on January 13, 2020 and also to assess the situation in the Sahel.
Presidents Idriss Deby Itno (Chad), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (Mali), Roch Marc Christian Kabore (Burkina Faso) and the Head of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sanchez took part in the meeting.
In his capacity as President of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat was also invited, as was Louise Mushikiwabo, the Secretary General of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).
By videoconference and by recorded video, Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, Giuseppe Conte, the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) participated in the exchanges