G5 Sahel: this resolution represents a turning point [fr]
Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) - Vote explanation by Mr. François Delattre - Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 8 December 2017
Allow me to begin by saying how much our thoughts today are with all of the Tanzanian Blue Helmets killed as they carried out their duties in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as with all of the families and friends of those who lost their lives while serving the United Nations. On behalf of France, I would like once again to express our most sincere condolences, sympathy and deep sadness to the Government and the people of Tanzania.
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2391 (2017), which provides operational and logistical support from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel).
Thanks to this resolution, the security forces of the G-5 Sahel countries operating in Mali as part of the Joint Force will soon be able to enjoy the support of MINUSMA in terms of supplies, medical evacuation and engineering support. That support will play a crucial role in terms of strengthening the effectiveness and scope of the Joint Force’s operations, as it will be provided directly on the ground as opposed by way of bilateral financing. It will meet the interests of MINUSMA, which has everything to gain from a Joint Force that is equipped to achieve the goals it has set for itself. It will be fully financed by international voluntary contributions and centred around a mechanism under the European Union. It will be set up according to modalities that ensure that there is no negative impact on MINUSMA’s capacity to implement its mandate and to provide security for its staff — a crucial point for us. It is important for the technical agreement between the G-5, the United Nations and the European Union, on which that support is to be based, be concluded as soon as possible. I am delighted to commend all of those Ambassadors who are here representing the G-5 Sahel countries. They are both colleagues and friends.
The resolution that we have just adopted, however, does not just focus on creating an operational link between the G-5 Sahel Joint Force and MINUSMA. In a kind of extension of resolution 2359 (2017), this new resolution makes significant progress in five other areas. First, it once again clearly and strongly welcomes the determination of the G-5 countries to pool their efforts to combat the terrorist threat. Resolution 2391 (2017) recognizes the significant progress that has been made in that area in just a few months, and urges everybody to shoulder their responsibility so that the Joint Force reaches full operational capacity as soon as possible. That is decisive for the next step. Secondly, this resolution recognizes the authorization that the Joint Force enjoys based on the mandate granted by the African Union. It encourages the G-5 Sahel to continue its efforts integrate its initiatives into its regional and international environment by holding regular meetings of the support group. Thirdly, it endorses the role played by the European Union in coordinating international contributions at the request of the G-5 Sahel States. Fourthly, it notes that the G-5 Joint Force will be a success only if there are accompanying development efforts on the ground and respect for fundamental human rights. It calls on the G-5 States to create an appropriate environment to that end, and calls upon all G-5 Sahel partners, first and foremost the United Nations, to support its implementation. Fifthly, the resolution strongly underscores that there can be no lasting stability in the Sahel without the full and effective implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. It also clearly reminds all Malian parties of their responsibilities vis-à-vis the sanctions regime put in place pursuant to resolution 2374 (2017).
Resolution 2391 (2017) therefore represents a genuine and important new phase in terms of the Security Council’s support for the G-5 Sahel. It is indeed a turning point, as we are together opening up a new avenue for United Nations support for the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, which is a crucial aspect of its effectiveness on the ground. Just a few months ago, the idea that the Council could reach agreement on supporting MINUSMA by providing means to support the Joint Force was impossible to envisage. Today’s outcome has been possible thanks to the fact that we have worked extremely hard over recent weeks — on the basis of the report of the Secretary-General (S/2017/869), the Council’s mission to the Sahel and the ministerial meeting held in October — with a view to identifying the elements of an eventual consensus based on an incremental and cooperative approach. I would like to commend all our teams, including my own, which worked doggedly and with great determination over many weeks.
This resolution therefore is not only a success for the G-5 Sahel Joint Force but also for the Security Council, which has shown its ability to provide a substantive response to one of the main threats to international peace and security in the world today. It demonstrates the consensus that now exists around this table on the importance of the international community’s support to African countries that are coming together to combat terrorism. This is a cause in which France believes very strongly, and one that we will continue to support very energetically in New York and elsewhere.
Once again, I would like to thank all Security Council delegations for their commitment. In particular, I would like to thank my colleague and American friend Ambassador Nikki Hailey, with whom we had a frank and, I believe, constructive dialogue throughout the entire negotiation process.
This resolution favourably positions us together so as to move ahead on the important path that remains before us. The technical agreement mechanism, which became necessary because of constraints imposed on the Council today, is not the one that we initially favoured. However, it nevertheless constitutes a solid foundation for making further progress based on the Secretary-General’s future semi-annual reports, provided that the G-5 Sahel States continue to take the necessary steps to move towards the full operationalization of the Joint Force and take advantage of the support already provided to them so as to record their first successes on the ground. More than ever, France believes that the United Nations has a central role to play with regard to international support for the Joint Force, first and foremost owing to our firm commitment to multilateralism and the centrality of the United Nations in that regard, as well as for the sake of effectiveness, because we believe that the United Nations provides us with an existing functional framework to coordinate our work in the most rational way possible.
The security threat facing the Sahel concerns us all owing to its implications for international peace and security. The G-5 Sahel Joint Force is the right response to that threat. It is therefore essential that the G-5 Sahel and the international community be able to take advantage of that opportunity together. Within the Council, our responsibility is to provide the G-5 Sahel Joint Force support commensurate with the stakes involved. We have taken an important step in that direction today, and we must continue to move forward during this demanding phase united and resolutely, with the same ambitious spirit of consensus that enabled us to achieve today’s outcome together. Members can count on France’s commitment in that regard. My country will remain ready at all levels to support the G-5 Sahel, and, next week, we will host a high-level meeting aimed at moving forward the operationalization of the Force and the implementation of its support.