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UN Mission: Sahel Region

Volume 663: debated on Monday 22 July 2019

Reflecting our continued commitment to multilateralism and international peace and security, the UK continues to support increased engagement in the Sahel under the Government’s new strategic approach to Africa.

We have committed to reinforcing our support for countries on the front line of instability, including stepping up to the UK’s role in tackling the underlying causes of poverty and conflict in Mali and the wider Sahel region (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania).

I therefore wish to announce to the House the intention to expand the UK’s contribution to the United Nations multidimensional integrated stabilisation mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by deploying a long-range reconnaissance task group of 250 personnel in 2020. The UK will support the mission in implementing its mandated tasks—to support the implementation of the peace agreement, promote stability in central Mali and to protect civilians, including supporting the rights of women and children.

The UK’s intent is to provide the UN with high-quality forces to missions where their capabilities are most in demand. The UK contribution will provide improved situational awareness and information provision that will help the mission—military and civilian—in support of the mandate, to progress towards a long-term and sustainable peace in Mali. This will signal a significant shift in the UK’s approach to peacekeeping as we bridge the gap between those who pay and those who deliver by providing a highly employable, highly capable task force.

This announcement is a significant uplift from the two military staff officers the UK currently contributes to MINUSMA HQ, and the funding of a civilian role to support the UN’s work on Sahel issues. It also demonstrates a continued commitment to UN peacekeeping following the completion of our commitment in 2020 to the UN mission in South Sudan.

The UK is committed to supporting the international community in combating instability in Mali, as well as strengthening our wider military engagement across the Sahel region, and is proud to do so under the auspices of the United Nations.