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Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during the meeting of foreign ministers of the Coalition for the Sahel

19.03.2021 - Speech

I am delighted to be here, side by side and shoulder to shoulder with Jean-Yves, sending out a clear message that our commitment to the Sahel is a joint commitment. And that it is crucial for us to achieve results on the ground by working in partnership with you in this endeavour. A state must be able to protect its people. And so we are working together to strengthen security forces in the Sahel which are fighting terrorists and countering organised crime.

We utterly condemn the terrorist attacks in the Niger and Mali this week, and our thoughts are with the victims. These attacks have shown once again how essential our work in the region is and will remain. And we must make this work even more effective. Today, therefore, we are agreeing on a roadmap for the Sahel coalition which defines clear goals and obligations. We are doing so in the shared understanding that military means alone will not bring the people of the Sahel lasting peace.

One month ago in N’Djamena, on the basis of this understanding, we agreed on a civil and political surge – an approach which unites military efforts with an even greater civilian and political “boost”, as Jean-Yves has just described. The ultimate goal is to restore the authority of the state in the places where it has been driven out by terrorists. In liberated areas, people need reliable police and incorruptible courts as soon as possible. And families expect health centres and schools for their children.

We have already made a good deal of progress with this civilian stabilisation through the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel.

Following the development of the Regional Stabilisation Facility for the Lake Chad Basin, Germany is currently working with the United Nations Development Programme to establish a second facility in the Central Sahel, in the border region between Burkina Faso, Mali and the Niger. And I would like to thank Achim Steiner for his excellent work with us on this project. We will provide 12 million euro of support for the new facility, and we are today inviting other donors to add contributions of their own. But it ultimately falls to the states of the region to lay the foundation for lasting peace and development themselves. They should

  • resolutely implement the necessary reforms of their administrations, armies and police forces as well as their economies,
  • fight corruption, economic mismanagement and impunity,
  • and respect human rights – including in the fight against terrorism.

Esteemed colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Protecting people, strengthening states and thus laying a foundation for sustainable peace – those are the goals of the civil and political surge, and Germany will continue to do everything it can to help you achieve them.

Merci beaucoup.

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