Mr. President, I’d like to begin today by expressing our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers killed and the more than 40 who were wounded in last night’s attack in eastern Congo. We are horrified by this cowardly attack on those who are sent to protect the most vulnerable.
Every day, terrorism and violent extremism exact a tremendous human toll. There is not a member nation of this Council that has not been affected.
In the Sahel, violent extremists, often in league with transnational organized criminal networks, attack civilians and peacekeepers with deadly impact that is felt throughout the region and beyond.
The formation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force by Member States committed to security in the region shows real responsiveness to this threat. Continued African leadership is vital in this long-term effort, and the United States will continue to look for ways to promote economic resilience and civilian security through support to the Joint Force and other G5 initiatives.
In adopting this resolution, the Security Council is also expressing its support for the G5 Sahel Joint Force by encouraging a technical agreement between the United Nations and the G5. This will provide some immediate logistical support on a reimbursable basis.
We wish to thank members of the Council for their cooperation, especially France, with whom we have worked closely during these past months.
The creativity and innovation in this text shows what is possible in the spirit of cooperation on shared objectives.
The international community’s support for the people of the G5 Member States and the G5 Joint Force is undeniable and growing.
The G5 has numerous partners in its effort to combat terrorism and violent extremism. The U.S. has pledged $60 million, joining the European Union, France, Saudi Arabia and others in supporting the G5 Sahel.
We believe that these examples of expansive international support show the best path forward for future assistance to the G5’s initiative.
We feel the Council’s encouragement of a technical agreement is the full extent of any support role the UN should play outside of continued coordination and technical assistance on a voluntary basis.
We must also not lose sight of the need to ensure that the peacekeeping mission in Mali has the troops and capabilities it needs to succeed.
The current capacity of this mission in terms of its man power and operational capabilities is not acceptable.
It hampers the mission’s ability to deliver on its own mandate, and it will hamper its ability to provide support to the Joint Force within the terms envisioned by this resolution.
In the longer term, the G5 must do a better job at facilitating humanitarian and development operations to help counter violent extremism and reestablish state control. To be effective, the G5 must respect human rights, hold its forces accountable, consult with local communities while being responsive to their concerns.
And as the Joint Force works to ensure civilian security in the execution of its duties, there will be a growing list of G5 partners to help the force work toward self-sufficiency.
We look forward to continuing our discussions on improving the peacekeeping mission in Mali. We also welcome the opportunity to work with the Malian parties to make progress on its peace agreement, and address other remaining challenges in the country.