Statement delivered by Ambassador Jerry Matjila during the Security Council Meeting on Peace and Security in Africa: G5 Sahel Joint Force, 16 May 2019

Mr President,

I wish to thank H.E. Mr. Alpha Barry, the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso for taking time to brief the Security Council on behalf of the G5 Sahel Presidency.

I also thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Ms Bintou Keita, the AU High Representative for Mali and Sahel, H.E. Mr. Pierre Buyoya, Mr. Angel Losada, the EU Special Representative for the Sahel, and Mr. Yuri Fedotov, the Executive Director for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for their comprehensive briefing.

South Africa takes note of the recent report by the Secretary-General on the activities of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region, particularly the continued terrorist attacks in Northern and Central Mali, Burkina Faso, as well as in the border region between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and the increasing inter-communal violence, which has resulted in many fatalities. Of equal concern is the spill over effects to other countries in West Africa.

My delegation would like to take this opportunity to convey our condolences to the families and victims of the violent attacks in the Sahel, in particular, those that took place in Ouagassou in Mali, Arbinda and recently in Dablo in Burkina Faso. We are hopeful that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes will be held accountable.

We commend the commitment expressed by the G5 Sahel countries to establish the Human Rights Compliance Framework. This is an important development that will go a long way in bringing the perpetrators to justice and building the trust and confidence of the population in the justice system of the respective countries.

Mr President,

We are encouraged by the concerted efforts and commitment of the countries of the Sahel to forge forward with the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force to combat terrorism, cross-border organised crime and trafficking in order to create conditions conducive for peace and development. Likewise, we welcome the resumption of the operations of the G5 Sahel Joint Force beginning of this year to deal with the security challenges that have engulfed that region. South Africa recognises the fundamental role and sacrifices of the AU-endorsed G5 Sahel Joint Force and its Member States. In this regard, we call upon this Council to spare no efforts in support of the initiatives undertaken by the countries of the Sahel.

Mr President,

We welcome the unique partnership between MINUSMA and the G5 Sahel Joint Force to restore peace and stability in Mali and the wider Sahel region. As has been recognised by this Council, the partnership provides a positive model of cooperation between a UN peacekeeping operation and that of a regional peace operation in Africa. Therefore, every effort should be made by this Council and the international community, to ensure that the challenges of the G5 Sahel Joint Force are addressed, and that it is fully capacitated as well as able to effectively implement its mandate.

We thus reiterate our support for the Secretary-General’s repeated recommendation for the Council towards the establishment of a UN support office for the G5 Joint Force, funded through assessed contributions and independent of MINUSMA, which we believe will allow for predictable and sustainable financing of support for the Joint Force, longer-term planning and the consolidation of this important initiative. This will enable the Force to have the necessary and critically needed logistical and operational base, which will contribute positively towards the full and effective operationalisation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

We are also of the view that for the Joint Force to currently operate optimally, the necessary logistical requirements have to be provided. In this regard, South Africa endorses the recommendation of the Secretary-General that this Council should consider authorising MINUSMA to provide life consumables support to battalions operating in the framework of the Joint Force under the condition that the Joint Force or other partners undertake the responsibility of ensuring the delivery of the support to their respective areas of operations.

We also welcome plans to strengthen the office of the UN Resident Coordinator and bolster humanitarian assistance, funding and programmes across Burkina Faso.

Also, the Security Council should consider further opportunities to reinforce partnerships and strengthen the role of the African Union when discussing African-led peace operations. This process should be carried out in a well-coordinated manner in order for the partnerships to complement one another in support the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

Mr President,

South Africa recognises the nexus between security, peace and development. We believe that there is a need to also address the root causes of conflicts in the region particularly, poverty, climate change, unemployment, and good governance.

Therefore, a holistic development approach to the challenges in the Sahel is urgently needed for the current efforts and initiatives to have a valuable lasting impact and bring about stability and durable peace in the region.

We thus welcome with appreciation the bilateral and multilateral financial contributions towards the G5 Sahel Priority Investment Plan (PIP), which focuses on socio-economic development initiatives in the Sahel. At the same time, we urge all member states, in a position to do so, to continue to provide financial support, to ensure the successful implementation of the PIP.

In conclusion Mr President, my delegation wishes to reiterate that the G5 Sahel Joint Force alone cannot secure the Sahel and this Council should be mindful of the catastrophic ramifications of the security situation for the rest of the West African Region, if the situation is not adequately addressed. This implies that no effort should be spared by this Council, the region and international community to provide the necessary support the Joint Force is in urgent need of to succeed in their fundamental initiative.

I thank you

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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