Mali: UN Sahel Envoy Consults With Mauritanian Leaders On Mali, Terrorism, Environment

The fight against terrorism, the environment, the importance of development and the impact of the crisis in Mali were among the pressing issues discussed with Mauritanian officials today as the United Nations envoy for the Sahel continued his journey across the region.

The Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and the Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, met with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in the country's capital, Nouakchott, UN spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey told reporters in New York.

This followed yesterday's meeting with the country's Foreign Minister, Mohamed Saleck Ould Mohamed Lemine, as part of an effort to develop a UN Integrated Regional Strategy for the Sahel.

In addition to the insurgency and political instability in Mali, the Sahel region - which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea - suffers from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, porous borders that present security challenges, as well as significant human rights problems.

In September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr. Prodi, who was formerly Prime Minister of Italy, as his Special Envoy for the region and tasked him with shaping and mobilizing an effective UN and international response to the multiple crises.

Following his meetings in Mauritania, Mr. Prodi and Mr. Djinnit went on to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to meet with that country's President and to consult with representatives of civil society. Yesterday, the two envoys met in Dakar with the President of Senegal who is currently the head of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

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