BAMAKO – The leaders of the five sub-Saharan countries of the Sahel region, Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, who together form the G5, met on Monday in Bamako to discuss the formation of a joint force to confront terrorism.
In his opening speech, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita called for unifying the efforts of member countries to achieve the stability and security of the region and to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons.
The Malian president emphasized that combating terrorism and crime networks requires international and regional cooperation, calling for more means to be given to the UN forces in northern Mali.
Chadian President Idriss Deby appealed for support for the peace process in Libya, warning that instability in the Sahel region will last as long as the war in Libya continues.
The presidents of the Sahel countries expressed their regret for the victims in the various attacks in Mali, particularly the last attack in the northern region of Gao, where at least 67 people were killed in an attack carried out on Jan. 18 by AQIM terror group against a military barracks.