I thank Assistant Secretary-General Pobee, G5 Sahel Executive Secretary Tiare and Ms. Diouf for their briefings this morning. I thank also the PBC for the valuable written comments.
Japan is gravely concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel. Growing violence and displacement have exacerbated humanitarian needs. Food and energy insecurity, climate change, and environmental degradation are compounding the existing vulnerabilities. Joint regional and international efforts are ever more important to tackle these multi-faceted challenges.
The G5 Sahel remains an important framework for regional cooperation and cross-border security and development. Japan welcomes the continued commitment shown at the G5 Sahel Summit this February, and the initiative taken by Mauritania in assuming the rotational presidency of the group. Japan echoes calls by the G5 Sahel on Mali to rejoin the group.
The framework should be supported by regional actors and the international community. In this regard, Japan appreciates the Tripartite EU- G5 Sahel - UN Agreement which arranged for MINUSMA to support the Joint Force of the G5. We also commend the initiatives by the regional partners to combat terrorism and violent extremism such as the Accra Initiative. Japan welcomes the recent appointment of SRSG Simao as the Head of UNOWAS. Japan further hopes that the recommendations in the report to be submitted by the Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel will contribute to the improvement of joint regional and international responses based on a candid assessment of the region’s challenges.
On the issue of predictable and sustainable resources for regional peace operations, Japan remains fully committed to discuss this matter including in the context of the recent SG report.
Political stability can only be derived from resilient democratic institutions and accountable governance based on the rule of law. Japan calls on the authorities of Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad to prepare for timely, open, and inclusive elections, a process that must include the meaningful participation of women, youth, and minorities. Japan takes note of the efforts they have made thus far, and welcomes the roles played by other partners including ECOWAS and the AU.
Terrorist groups and violent extremists are exploiting societal fragility. All security operations should have a holistic and comprehensive approach with long-term perspective, incorporating measures to foster social cohesion and address structural fragility by ensuring local ownership through dialogue with community leaders and civil society. Security operations must also respect the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law. Japan commends the work of OHCHR and MINUSMA to support the G5 Sahel Joint Force in human rights and humanitarian law compliance, capacity building and the fight against impunity.
The Council should remain united in supporting the region, especially given the spillover of violence and insecurity into the northern regions of the coastal states and, now, the potentially destabilizing effects of the conflict in Sudan.
As Prime Minister Kishida announced during his visit to Ghana earlier this month, Japan will contribute to peace and stability, and promote sustainable growth in the Sahel region and the neighboring coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea. We remain committed to engaging with the region and supporting regional initiatives.
I thank you.