EU underlines strategic importance of Sahel.
EU underlines strategic importance of Sahel BRUSSELS, May 14 (KUNA) -- European Union foreign and defence ministers discussed the situation in the Sahel with their counterparts from the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in Brussels Tuesday. The meeting was the opportunity to reaffirm the strategic importance of the Sahel for the EU, which stands by the G5 Sahel countries in their efforts to address multiple challenges, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini told a press conference after the meeting this evening. She noted that the EU has already given 147 million euro (USD 164 million) for the creation of the G5 Sahel Task Force, and discussed how to make this Task Force totally operational, particularly in the fight against terrorist groups and criminal networks in the region. "It was a very positive, deep, and frank discussion. We agreed that we need to work together on security sector reform and on certain aspects of the behaviour of the armed forces, which must be exemplary" she said. An EU statement said the meeting discussed in particular how to address the recent deterioration in the security situation in the region, including the increased presence of terrorist groups, as well as the increase in intercommunal violence. They reaffirmed their strong determination to step up efforts to combat terrorists groups and to restore stability, including through further work to operationalise the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Meanwhile, in a separate meeting EU Defence ministers discussed the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) after its first full year of implementation. PESCO is aimed at boosting EU defence cooperation. They reviewed the progress made, including the implementation of the 34 projects agreed within this framework. EU Defence ministers also discussed EU-NATO Cooperation with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller. They focused in particular on ways to counter hybrid threats.(end) nk.bs
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