France backs proposed AU force against Boko Haram

ADDIS ABABA (AA) – France’s permanent representative at the UN Security Council, François Delattre, has stressed his country’s support for proposals to form an African force to combat the Boko Haram militant group.

France “has great concern about the development of Boko Haram” in West Africa, Delattre told a press conference at the end of the ninth joint consultative meeting of the UN Security Council and its African equivalent in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

“There have been efforts in the last weeks to find a convenient response to Boko Haram,” Delattre said.

“If this plan [the proposed African force] works, it will be another illustration of the partnership between the two councils,” he added.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau recently pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, months after declaring a self-styled “Islamic caliphate” in areas under its control in Nigeria.

Nigeria and its neighbors – including Niger, Cameroon and Chad – recently launched a joint counter-terrorism campaign endorsed by the African Union and other regional bodies.

-South Sudan-

Moving to the situation in war-torn South Sudan, Delattre said that a recent Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the country’s warring rivals was not meant for “immediate” implementation.

“It takes time to resolve problems, to bring leaders together, to create cohesion,” he asserted without elaborating.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar recently failed to reach a peace deal, despite the expiry of a March 5 deadline for doing so.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing sanctions – including travel bans and asset freezes – on South Sudan’s warring rivals.

For her part, Namibia’s representative to the African Union, Anne Mutelo, whose country currently chairs the African Union Peace and Security Council, said Africa was pushing for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

“Africa wants to be on that permanent seat,” Mutelo said.

Delattre, meanwhile, said his country supported the notion of an “expanded UN Security Council,” adding that he hoped to see Africa as part of that expanded council.

Thursday’s meeting touched on the security situation in Africa’s Great Lakes Region, the Central African Republic, Mali, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan’s Darfur region.

During the session, Mutelo called for more regular joint field visits to crisis-hit areas across Africa.

The focus, Mutelo said, should be on finding “root causes to address crises in Africa, as well as on conflict prevention.”

Towards this end, she said, the two councils planned to run joint field missions this year to several of the continent’s troubled areas.

© 2015, Addis Getachew. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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