West Africa: Video Remarks to the G5 Sahel Summit

UN peacekeepers patrol the Menaka region in northeast Mali.
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Bonjour à tous. C'est un plaisir pour moi de participer cette année au sommet du G5 Sahel. Je remercie le président Ghazouani de son leadership au cours de l'année écoulée, le président Deby d'assurer la présidence cette année, et son excellence Maman Sidikou pour la direction du secrétariat exécutif.

The G5 Sahel does vital work to bring security, stability, and good governance to your region. The United States is committed to being a strong partner to you. Like you, we are concerned about rising violent extremism, governance challenges, and humanitarian concerns in the region.

We support the aims of the International Coalition for the Sahel to coordinate international support for the region, from building its capacity to fight terrorism to supporting economic development.

As ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates seek to expand their reach across Africa, the United States will continue to work closely with our African partners. We will build on existing efforts in West Africa and share lessons in the global fight against violent extremism. We applaud Mauritania for joining Chad and Niger as Sahelian members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Tactical counterterrorism work is essential. But on its own, we know it is not enough. Instability and violence are symptoms of a crisis of state legitimacy. Historical social grievances, a lack of accessible public services, and exclusion from political processes - particularly for minority or marginalized communities - all of these erode the legitimacy of governments in the eyes of the people.

Beyond a security response, the path to lasting stability lies in providing services and economic opportunities, protecting the rule of law, and engaging communities in decisions that affect them. It also lies in pursuing justice for human rights violations committed by security forces, with transparent investigations and real accountability. I welcome the strides that the G5 Sahel has made, working with international partners, to better prevent human rights violations and protect civilians. And we look forward to the full implementation of these initiatives.

A quick word about Mali. Mali remains a linchpin for the future stability of the Sahel. The United States is committed to our support for African-led efforts to ensure an 18-month civilian-led transition, culminating in free and fair elections and a return to elected government in Mali by April 2022. We urge Mali's transitional government to carry out an inclusive and transparent process for those elections. And we welcome their commitment to address the underlying grievances of the Malian people, including security, governance, human rights, renewing the social compact, electoral reform, and implementation of the Algiers Accord.

Again, thank you for the work you are doing to bring good governance and stability to the Sahel, and to coordinate the regional and international response. The United States is committed to being a good partner to you. And I'm looking forward to working with you, and hope we can meet in person very soon.

Good luck for a successful summit.

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