Sahel Summit in Nouakchott Tackles Terrorism, Libyan Crisis

The G5 Sahel heads of state discussed on Tuesday during a summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the growing threat of terrorism and the Libyan crisis.

The summit was held in line with the first General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance, chaired by French Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to ensure high-level international mobilization in support of development in the region.

The Sahel General Assembly’s first meeting was attended by representatives from Germany, the EU, the UN, the African Union, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, China and Russia.

“I am here with you to say that a surge in mobilization, coordination or prioritization is necessary,” Le Drian told the summit.

During their meeting, the presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger heard appeals to step up the fight against militants whose offensive across three countries has claimed thousands of lives and inflicted crippling economic damage.

“More than ever, the Sahel requires heightened and coordinated attention from states in the region and the international community to brake the spiral of violence,” said Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, chairing the one-day summit.

In their final statement, the Sahel countries said the region faced an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”

The statement also condemned the mounting terrorist activities, reiterating the G5 Sahel states’ pledges to enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism.

“We urgently need concrete victories against terrorism. The real challenge of this summit is to meet this existential need,” said the chair of the African Union’s commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The Sahel leaders renewed their demands to the United Nations Security Council to place the G5 Sahel Joint Force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which authorizes the Council to use force against threats to peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression.

The leaders also stressed that their efforts to fight terrorism is linked to events in Libya.

The G5 Sahel group was launched in 2014, with a secretariat based in Nouakchott.