|UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 12, 2018 -- The UN Security Council on Thursday voiced concern over the security situation in West Africa and the Sahel region, particularly the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.
"Council members expressed their concern over remaining security challenges, including the threat of terrorism and violent extremism, as and when conducive to, terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel regions and their linkages to transnational organized crime," Kazakh ambassador to the United Nations Kairat Umarov, who serves as the president of the Secruity Council for this month, told reporters after closed-door consultations of the council.
The council members stressed the need to combat terrorism, including efforts to address conditions conducive to its spread, said Umarov.
They welcomed international efforts to mobilize support for the joint military force of the five Sahel countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
They expressed concern over widespread food insecurity, forced displacement and adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes that have negative impacts on the stability of the region, and called on the international community to support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the population in need in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel regions.
The Sahel is the northernmost part of sub-Saharan Africa, a vast belt stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea.
Briefing the Security Council, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the UN secretary-general's special representative for West Africa and the Sahel, said that despite continuous progress, notably regarding democratic and peaceful political transitions, the security situation in the regions remains a matter of grave concern.
In Mali, terrorists launched a complex attack on the UN mission's positions in Kidal, resulting in the death of a peacekeeper. Two separate attacks on security posts were also registered in Burkina Faso near the Malian border, he said.
In the Sahel, the five countries have made significant progress with regard to their joint military force, Chambas noted.
The United Nations continues to pioneer the sustaining peace approach in the Gambia and Burkina Faso to ensure lasting peace and the consolidation of these young democracies, he said.
After the successful democratic elections in Liberia, Chambas said further attention now needs to be paid to forthcoming elections in Sierra Leone and Guinea.