France has circulated a UN Security Council resolution that would authorise military action by five countries in Africa’s vast Sahel Region against extremist groups. Presidents of the five countries Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania agreed in February to set up a joint force. Initially, it is expected to comprise up to 5,000 military, civilian and police personnel, with headquarters in Mali.
France’s UN ambassador, Francois Delattre, told reporters yesterday that “the terrorist threat in the Sahel region threatens not only the region itself but … international peace and security.”
He stressed that “we cannot afford to let the Sahel region become a new safe haven for terrorists from across the world.” The draft circulated to council members would authorise deployment of the force for a year.