UN: Africa’s Sahel region leaders stress need to keep peace, combat terrorism

New York, US (PANA) - Peace and security are vital conditions for security and development, leaders from Africa’s Sahel region told the UN General Assembly on Saturday, laying out their plans to end conflict, counter terrorism and striving to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Agenda.

The President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who spoke at the General Assembly, said that hostilities had effectively ceased between the government and the signatory movements of the Darfur Peace Agreement and reconciliation in Mali, but the peace process remains fragile because of activities terrorist groups.

"Despite the efforts of the signatories of the Agreement, the peace process still faces serious obstacles related to the activities of terrorist groups in the northern regions which indiscriminately carry out asymmetric attacks against peaceful civilians, the Malian defense and security forces, contingents of the UN Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission (MINSUMA)," the Malian leader said.

He said: "It is necessary to increase the process of cantonment and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration so as to isolate armed groups that had not signed the agreement and those affiliated with terrorist networks.The government is ready to fully undertake its responsibility for the new mandate and work with MINUSMA."

He welcomed the high-level meeting on Mali which took place between all stakeholders at the sidelines of the General Assembly, noting that, "at the meeting my government spotlighted the urgency of accelerating implementation of the peace agreement."

"The people and Government of Mali are grateful for the United Nations support of the peace process," Keita said, stressing that no country in the world was free of terrorism and no cause could justify violence against civilians. Mali encouraged international cooperation between Member States to neutralize the hydra of terrorism and its networks.

On his part, Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of Niger, said that, while not all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had been achieved, significant progress had been made in areas such as poverty reduction, education and maternal and child healthcare.

"Nevertheless, many African countries, especially the sub-Saharan region, have much more work ahead in these areas, and still, the 2030 Agenda is a stepping off point for finishing the work of the MDGs and instituting wider measures to tackle climate change, socio-economic development, and, particularly, strengthening activities toward and support for the least developed countries (LDCs)," Issoufou told the General Assembly.

He also called for efforts to restructure the international financial institutions.

He stated: "Programmes at the centre of the SDG’s must make it possible for Africa to be better integrated in to the global trading system", stressing that UN studies have shown that if such participation were to increase by just one per cent, Africa could generate some US$200 billion in resources, which could be put to use bolstering continent-wide development.

On wider issues, the Nigerien leader cited the important need to step up measures to tackle terrorism, noting that, as non-State actors and armed groups continued to sow destruction in many regions, it has become clear that the current peacekeeping architecture is unable to keep pace.

"As such, the international community must undertake a review of some UN peace mandates of some UN peacekeeping missions to ensure that they are better able to provide civilian protection.

"It is unthinkable that those placed in the field to protect civilians are in fact powerless, impotent, and do nothing under the pretext of having a clearly defined mandate, and the institution tasked with establishing peacekeeping missions cannot remain passive in the face of civilian massacres," he stressed.
-0-  PANA AA  24Sept2016

24 september 2016 17:54:20

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