Friday, December 8, 2023

UN chief warns of impact on Sahel region from Libya war

Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), speaks at a panel discussion, during the World Humanitarian Day, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 19 August 2015.

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UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned that Libya’s civil war become a playground for foreign forces in North Africa and threatens to spill over into the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.
“Libya has been a centre, a cancer for arms export and fighters export, and the most worrying impact is of course with the Sahel and Lake Chad. And more and more these things are interlinked”, said Guterres at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Earlier this month, Turkey’s parliament passed a bill allowing the government to send troops to Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been in conflict with the warlord Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), whose forces are supported by Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have since managed to mediate a fragile truce after holding negotiations, known as the Berlin peace process, which Guterres also supported, as he believes that all of Libya’s neighboring countries have suffered the fallout from the fighting.
“What we are having with the Sahel and Lake Chad is a war with terrorist organisations that we are not winning. Terrorism is spreading. It is now threatening the countries of the coast – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Beni”, Guterres said, and added that “What has happened in Libya is that it became a playground of neighbours and other players”.
He also said that the current security system in place in the Sahel region was “not enough”, and called for an “African force that is a peace-enforcing and a counterterrorism force” with UN Security Council financing.
France and Africa’s G5 Sahel countries, whose members are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, have recently agreed to step up military cooperation to fight the jihadist presence in Africa.
Their anti-terrorist forces are supported with intelligence and funding by the EU, the UK, and the US. However, lately, jihadist attacks on civilians and troops have increased, and France urged other European nations to increase their action in the region, warning that jihadist groups threaten the continent as a whole.

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