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Remarks by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz in the Security Council VTC meeting on Peace and Security in Africa, June 5, 2020

05.06.2020 - Speech

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At the outset, I would like to thank USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix for his presentation, and would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to His Excellency, the Foreign Minister of Mauritania.

Mr. President, Germany attaches great importance to peace and stability in the Sahel region.

I would like to focus on four brief points this morning:

First of all, I would like to reiterate that Germany is a strong partner of the G5. The Joint Force needs to increase its operational capacities now. Recent progress is encouraging and needs to be sustained. 

Secondly, Germany is convinced that the Joint Force has the potential to become a major security-provider and to develop into a key player achieving more security in the Sahel. But we are not there yet. This is why there is a continued need for an international security presence in the Sahel region for the time being. MINUSMA is one essential component here and should be equipped with the necessary resources to be able to fully implement its mandate and continue to support the political process in Mali. There is room for even more ambitious options for UN support to the G5 Joint Force in the future.

Thirdly, Germany strongly believes that terrorism cannot be fought by military means alone. Safeguarding human rights and building inclusive societies are in fact indispensable prerequisites to successfully counter terrorism and extremism. The experience of injustice often accelerates the breeding of extremism, in particular among the local population. We encourage governments in the Sahel to further engage in political processes to build more inclusive societies and reconcile all parts of society. Germany in its support for the G5 countries follows an integrated approach that comprises not only military but also comprehensive stabilization efforts, humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation. When combatting terrorism and extremism, there cannot be any compromises when it comes to respecting human rights. Therefore, we fully support the human rights compliance framework of the Joint Force and thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its dedicated work. Access for all relevant OHCHR staff must be guaranteed.

We encourage the G5 to clarify allegations of human rights violations by their security forces. Transparency is crucial to maintain the trust of citizens in their security forces. Full accountability by the state is necessary in the endeavour to build lasting peace and prosperity. In that context, we urge both the G5 countries and the Joint Force to significantly strengthen engagement on the compliance framework as one of the key elements that can prevent human rights violations in the future. 

Fourthly and lastly, Germany has supported the G5 Joint Force bilaterally and through the European Union. I would like to allude to the most recent decision to allocate 100 million EUR under the African Peace Facility to provide logistical, infrastructure and service support to the Joint Force. We are committed to continuing our support. The Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel will serve as a platform to better coordinate the international support to the regional defense and security forces.

In conclusion, Mr. President, let me underline: 

We are confronted with several challenges in the Sahel which are highly alarming and cost civilian lives on a daily basis. These are compounded by the spread of COVID-19, the full consequences of which are yet to be seen in the Sahel region. 

Germany substantially supports the G5 Sahel countries on their path towards greater security, stability and development. We will continue to support the Sahel G5 countries in their endeavor to keep peace and security in the Sahel and to strive towards more stability.

 

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