UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Niger’s President Mahamadou Yusuf called in an interview with AFP to involve the African Union in efforts to resolve the Libyan conflict and to give the UN force in Mali a greater mandate in the face of jihadi militants.
Kosovo, who is also the direct chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), summarized the position of his Sahel counterparts, who expressed this week from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly.
QUESTION: Sahel leaders are demanding a strong mandate for the UN force in the Sahel. How is that and the force is currently preparing 13 thousand elements?
The security situation is deteriorating and the threat is expanding. Some countries that were immune to the jihadists are now concerned with it.
The UN force has been in Mali for years. It has a peacekeeping mandate. They should be given a greater mandate and expanding their work beyond Mali.
You should not be limited to a peacekeeping mandate and you must have an offensive mandate to fight terrorism. We have a precedent with the mission to stabilize the DRC, which includes units that have fought armed movements.
The AU agrees with us. But it remains to convince the United Nations and the Security Council.
Q: What is your position on Washington’s opposition to UN funding for the Sahel Joint Force?
This joint force is about to become operational and our operations will begin very soon. But they must be strengthened and placed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (which opens the way for UN funding).
We are not only fighting for our own security, but also for global security. We are not asking the international community for the level of engagement that has taken place in Afghanistan or Syria, where enormous potential has been allocated.
Our partners have pledged to give us 400 million (euros), but unfortunately they have not yet saved that 400 million.
Q: The Sahel leaders are asking for the appointment of a joint UN-African Union special representative in Libya.
Insecurity and the absence of the state in Libya have led to an influx of weapons, which is of concern to us. The crisis has been going on since 2011, and every effort should be made to resolve it quickly.
Africa has just confirmed experience in Sudan. Libya within the African continent, Libya is African, and the problem in Libya can not be solved with the marginalization of the African Union. A joint special envoy must be appointed. He is not a special envoy of the African Union besides a special envoy of the United Nations.
All the initiatives so far have provided for elections. But elections cannot be held under the current security conditions in Libya. We put the cart in front of the horse, first the restoration of the state and then organize elections later.
In Sudan the state was almost collapsed. We have favored the various parties and established a government. We now have institutions that will lead the transition to elections.
This is what must be done in Libya.
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