His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has received a telephone call from President Emmanuel Macron of France during which he expressed his thanks and gratitude to the UAE for its effective contribution in support of the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel) Joint Force to combat trans-border terrorism and organized crime.
The two leaders discussed ways of strengthening bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation for the best interest of both countries and their peoples, according to Emirates News Agency WAM.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and President Macron also tackled a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern and the latest developments in the region.
G5 Sahel or G5S is an institutional framework for coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in central Africa. It was formed on 16 February 2014 in Nouakchott, Mauritania,at a summit of five Sahel countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. It adopted a convention of establishment on 19 December 2014, and is permanently seated in Mauritania.
The coordination is organized on different levels. The military aspect is coordinated by the respective countries’ Chiefs-of-Staff. The purpose of G5 Sahel is to strengthen the bond between economic development and security,and together battle the threat of jihadist organizations operating in the region (AQIM, MUJWA, Al-Mourabitoun, Boko Haram).
On 1 August 2014, France launched a counterterrorism mission, Operation Barkhane, deploying 3,000 soldiers in the member states of G5 Sahel. On 20 December, G5 Sahel, with the backing of the African Union, called on the United Nations Security Council to set up an international force to “neutralize armed groups, help national reconciliation, and establish stable democratic institutions in Libya.” This was met with opposition from Algeria.
In June 2017, France requested that the United Nations Security Council approve the deployment of a counterterrorism task force consisting of 10,000 soldiers to G5 Sahel. The European Union agreed to provide 50 million Euros towards financing the force. Russia and China expressed support for the operation, while the United States and the United Kingdom did not agree about financing. France and the U.S. would reach an agreement on 20 June.
The next day, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the deployment of a G5 Sahel counterterrorism task force. On 29 June, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that the French military would cooperate with G5 Sahel.