Sahel action "on the right track" - Armed Forces Minister

Sahel – G5 summit – Reply by Mme Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, to a question in the Senate

Paris, 1 July 2020

In the Sahel, we have three watchwords: determination, cooperation and complementarity.

Yes, we’re determined to continue fighting terrorism in the region, and we owe it to the French President’s determination that, by launching the Pau summit, we’ve created a momentum. That’s enabled us, all together, to garner some successes, including military ones, and inject new impetus into our action.

This new impetus is that of cooperation. In the Sahel, victory is indeed possible if we remain united, if we join forces with the G5 Sahel countries and the Europeans. We must do so in order to support local armed forces in combat. The remobilization of those Sahel armed forces is visible. Military camps have been recaptured and the level of cooperation has greatly improved.

As you emphasized, Task Force Takuba will be able to get started in a few days’ time. Initially it will bring together French and Estonian special forces, who will be joined by Czech, then Swedish and perhaps Italian special forces. The Greeks are also currently looking at whether to take part.

I’d like to stress that, in general, European processes are slow. But in less than a year, 13 countries, including 11 European countries, will have helped build this force.

Lastly, complementarity is the final condition for success. Indeed, in this regard, military action isn’t an end in itself: you have to be able to help the Sahel countries face up to security-related, economic and social challenges. Therefore, on the ground, the soldiers in Operation Barkhane are continuing to support the return of the State, as they did recently in Labbezanga – well yes, the population is returning!

Of course, we’ll have to do more, but the first signs are there. We’re on the right track!./.

Published on 08/07/2020

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