Senegal urges collective action for Sahel security challenges at Antalya Diplomacy Forum

‘Many steps have been taken to solve problem in Sahel, but we cannot find solution to these problems with just one state,’ says Ismaila Madior Fall

Senegal’s Foreign Minister highlighted concerns in the Sahel region, emphasizing the inadequacy of a single-state approach and calling for a supranational response to address the challenges.

“Many steps have been taken to solve the problem in the Sahel, but we cannot find a solution to these problems with just one state. We need a supranational response,” Ismaila Madior Fall said during a panel titled Coast: From Security Risks to Permanent Stability at Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

The panel was moderated by Lori-Aanne Theroux-Benoni, the Regional Director of the Security Studies Institute (ISS).

Fall highlighted the importance of focusing on governance, security, and development to address security issues in the region through global and local cooperation.

“The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plays a significant role in this regard. Indeed, the memberships of Sahel countries wanting to leave the union have not been canceled because cooperation is crucial for solving the problems,” Fall added.

Chad’s Foreign Minister highlighted the need to assess the issue carefully for more security and stability in the Sahel region.

“Terror knows no borders and is a global threat, so we must act globally while combating it. The threat in the Sahel concerns Western nations, and their cooperation should be visible,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif said.

Annadif pointed out that Sahel countries have improved their military personnel, equipment, and intelligence experience in the fight against terrorism over the last decade, emphasizing the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles in counter-terrorism efforts.

Importance of local actors in counter-terrorism

Mali’s Foreign Minister underlined the need to identify the reasons for terrorism in the Sahel region.

“Terrorist groups in the region are supported by foreigners. Our partners can appear as those who reveal or support this threat,” Abdoulaye Diop said.

Diop criticized ECOWAS for being insufficient in solving regional problems, stating that they have been left alone, and support comes from outside.

He pointed out that ECOWAS did not raise its voice against some coups but took a stance against recent ones.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister underlined that the Sahel region has been wrongly analyzed for many years, leading to negative consequences for Sahel countries

“The first thing to do is to allow Sahel countries to implement their own policies, but this has not been done so far, and the problems have not been resolved,” Jean Marie Karamoko Traore said.

Expressing criticism of ECOWAS, Traore said: “We should collaborate with ECOWAS for regional cooperation, but our mechanism should lead us to peace and stability. ECOWAS cut off a country’s energy, and hospitals were left without electricity; collaboration cannot be in this way.”

Ghana’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong mentioned that armed groups in the Sahel region have spread to the Gulf of Guinea in the last 10 years, destabilizing the region.


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