Speech by President Charles Michel at the G5 Sahel summit

Speech by President Charles Michel at the G5 Sahel summit

I would like to begin by thanking President Déby and I am extremely pleased, along with High Representative Borrell, to be reunited with you, even if it is virtual in the circumstances for me. And I would like to greet all the friends who are present, either physically or virtually, in the context of this meeting.

Before that, of course, I would like to salute all the work and efforts that have been made by Mauritania and President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, and to extend our best wishes for Chad and especially for President Déby.

Naturally, I have a thought for all those who are victims of terrorism in the Sahel and around the world. We do not forget that terrorism is a fundamental act of denial of humanity. And that’s why we’re together. This is because we believe that these values of dignity for every human being must be defended by this general mobilization against terrorism.

So Mr Debay and dear friends, a few messages on behalf of the European Union.

The first message is clear: it is a message of mobilization and commitment from the European Union in support of the G5 Sahel, in support of the people. This commitment is strong, it is sustainable, it is multifaceted and it is concrete. Since the Pau summit, which plays an extremely important role, several have already said since the Pau summit, which plays an extremely important role, commitments have been made specifically to increase Europe’s mobilization in a concrete way.

Some examples: MINUSMA: 19 out of 27 European countries participate. EUTM: 22 out of 27 European countries participate. The Takuba force mentioned: 9 European countries are mobilized and several others are studying the possibility of joining and also strengthening support for the Takuba force.

The European Union, in line with the commitments made a few months ago, has also been able to mobilise to resolve the issue of the provision of individual protective equipment, the provision of armoured vehicles and light vehicles; training of gendarmes or infrastructure. To take just one example: the Nouakchott-Rosso road, which was completed at the end of last year.

These few concrete examples show that we want to be engaged, not just with generous and general phrases, but we want to be in action with you.

And then I would like to raise a few points in reaction to what has already been said and you have indicated yourself, Mr President Déby, I have been able to discuss this directly with some of your G5 Sahel peers in recent weeks. It is mobilization within the framework of the United Nations. And we are ready to activate, as President Macron has mentioned, all European political and diplomatic mobilization within the framework of the United Nations, with non-permanent members as well as with permanent members. We are ready to try to coordinate European positions in the Security Council in relation to this chapter VII issue and sustainable funding. We can see that this is an important issue, for which we are ready to be truly mobilized.

Finally, you know that in previous meetings we have made commitments, the European Union, in relation to the issue of debts. We believe that the debate on debt relief, partial or total, on debt restructuring is an important debate. In recent months, we have made progress as there is a growing consensus at the European level to be engaged in this direction and to be able to activate our diplomatic capacity in multilateral donor clubs. The first initiatives in the right direction have been taken within the framework of the International Monetary Fund, with some of the G5 Sahel countries having a direct impact on fiscal capacity. We have to go beyond that. We must continue this debate and it is also in this that I had the opportunity to meet representatives of the African Union to see how, the European Union, the African Union, we can structure our work to make progress on this issue. In order, and there is a coherence from my point of view, to give budgetary capacity to the States and thus to strengthen their capacity on the ground throughout the countries concerned and to come even more in support of the populations, especially the civilian population.

Finally, I conclude by saying that we are all convinced that for the people of the Sahel, for the people of Europe, we have a duty to result. We have a requirement for results. It has to mobilize us in a total way, in a complete way. We appreciate the political dialogue at the highest level, which is regular, which allows us to fully understand how we can move forward, how we can overcome a number of obstacles.

The European Union is committed. We want to work for trust, for efficiency. We want to work for inclusive economic and social development because we measure well that it is through the various pillars around which we cooperate that we can make progress in bringing stability and security. You can count not only on the friendship of the European Union, but also on our concrete commitment to try to make progress with you for peace, security and development. Thank you.

Source: Intervention du président Charles Michel au sommet G5 Sahel par vidéo conférence – Consilium (europa.eu)

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/bush-sahara-sign-sahel-track-696567/

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