By Lv Qiang
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 10 -- Anti-terrorism operations in the Sahel region of Africa have made positive progress recently. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under Secretary General of the United Nations Department of Peace Operations (USSG/UNDPO) said on June 5 that the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) is strengthening the troop construction and has made "substantial and encouraging progress", and an ongoing major military operation, code-named Sama "progressing well".
At present, the United Nations is considering strengthening its support for the G5 Sahel. Lacroix also calls for a package of support for the group in an all-round manner with the membership fee submitted by the UN member states, aiming to grant the group more autonomy to facilitate the implementation of the long-term counter-terrorism strategy.
In the Sahel region, political turbulence, economic backwardness, and inter-tribal conflicts are intertwined. Under such situation, extreme forces can still swoop in and severely threaten the regional security. According to statistics, in the first five months of 2020, there were 886 violent conflicts in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, causing 3,798 deaths. Analysts pointed out that long-term security in the Sahel region requires both the help of the international community and the efforts of African countries.
Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, said at the Security Council online meeting on the Sahel issue that China has always firmly supported the efforts of countries in the Sahel region to maintain regional peace, security, stability and promote regional development. In addition, China has provided assistance to the anti-terrorist operations in the Sahel region and to the development of the G5 Sahel, which demonstrate China’s support to the UN agencies in helping relevant countries strengthen their anti-terrorism capabilities.
Considering underdevelopment is the root cause of many problems in the Sahel region, Zhang expects that the international community should increase its support for regional economic and social development in the Sahel, and help the countries in the region eliminate poverty, improve medical care, education and employment, speeding up efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union's Agenda 2063.