UN peacekeeping official spotlights cross-border terrorist threat in Sahel region

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-16 07:00:24|Editor: ying
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, El-Ghassim Wane, told the Security Council Tuesday that cross-border terrorist threat in the Sahel region in Africa remains serious.

Wane made the remarks while briefing the Security Council on the activities of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which comprises troop participation from all G5 countries -- Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

The cross-border dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime and its links with terrorism, continue to pose a serious threat to stability, prosperity and growth in the Sahel, he said.

Wane noted that the G5 Sahel Joint Force "presents a unique opportunity to address regional challenges through a regional approach," but said that a number of challenges remain, including in relation to funding, force generation, training and equipment, among others.

"The opportunity the Force presents will only be seized if, in addition to tackling these challenges, the causes of instability in Mali and the region are addressed simultaneously," he said.

"This requires going beyond military action," he said, to tackle governance problems, poverty, unemployment and climate change.

Wane added that a political strategy should guide the Joint Force's activities.

In recent years, the vast, arid Sahel region has become a breeding ground for violent radical groups, some with ties to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. European leaders fear that these militants could pose a great danger to their neighboring continent without intervention.

On July 2, leaders of the G5 Sahel officially launched the new G5 Sahel force, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron. This followed a meeting in February in which the G5 Sahel heads of state announced that a new force would be set up to fight terrorism in the sub-region.