Polish FM attends first meeting of Coalition for the Sahel

"The aim of our cooperation is to fight cross-border criminal networks and increase the resistance of the countries of the Sahel to crisis," Czaputowicz stated. Piotr Nowak/PAP

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz took part in a videoconference on Friday as the first meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel, organised by the European Union and G5 Sahel, bringing together officials of 60 countries and international organisations.

The United Nations and the African Union were among the participants of Friday's video meeting, during which Czaputowicz stated: "The aim of our cooperation is to fight cross-border criminal networks and increase the resistance of the countries of the Sahel to crisis."

During his speech, the head of Polish diplomacy gave his assurance of Poland's full support of the coalition and stressed its importance for improving coordination and cohesion of international activities aimed at stabilising the security situation in the Sahel region of North Africa.

Local state institutions are often not in a position to face the growing scale of terrorist attacks, he said, adding that the reason for instability is also the inability of meeting the basic needs of local communities.

The activities of the European Union and Poland in the Sahel region are an expression of our solidarity and proof of a partnership-based approach to overcoming the challenges, which - left without an appropriate response - are very likely to bring negative consequences for the residents of the Sahel, other parts of Africa, but also Europe, Czaputowicz said.

The foreign minister also pointed out that in recent years, Poland has granted military support to Chad and Mali and gave his assurance of support for the peace process in Mali, a country co-founding the Community of Democracies.

The G5 Sahel is a regional grouping of five African countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which since February this year has been presided over by Mauritania, on a revolving basis. The G5 Sahel was established in 2014 with the aim of tightening regional cooperation. In 2017, within its framework, the G5 Sahel Joint Force was created, conducting joint military activities in the region.

The activities of the Coalition are based on four pillars: Pillar 1 - the fight against terrorism, Pillar 2 - increasing military capacity; Pillar 3 - support for state administration; Pillar 4 - socio-economic development.