Presidential activity

The President of the Republic: The Dakar forum is an important meeting to discuss issues of peace and security in Africa

Nouakchott,  18/11/2019
The President of the Republic, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani said Monday during the opening ceremony of the Dakar forum on peace and security that this meeting has become an important annual rendezvous to discuss the issues of peace, security and stability strategies in Africa.
He affirmed that this initiative expresses the solidity of fraternal relations and common destiny of the two brother peoples and their leaderships, before emphasizing that today’s World is facing a rise in power of nationalist feeling accompanied by a doubt about the capabilities of the United Nations and the vital and strategic role this organization plays in the world.
Here is the full text of this speech:
“Mr. President of the Republic of Senegal, dear brother Macky Sall, Mr. Prime Minister of the French Republic, Edward Philips;
Ladies and gentlemen ministers;
Ladies and gentlemen MPs;
Ladies and gentlemen distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen ambassadors;
Ladies and gentlemen officers;
Ladies and gentlemen guests;
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen;

Allow me first to congratulate my friend and brother, President Macky Sall, for the organization and success of this forum, which has undoubtedly become one of the major annual events on issues of security and peace in the world and, in particular, a crossroads for all those interested in peace and security issues in Africa and in our sub-region, in particular.

I would like, above all, to thank my brother and friend, President Macky Sall, for giving me the ultimate privilege of being this year’s guest of honor, only a few months after taking office as President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
There is no doubt that this invitation and the special attention all borrowed from majestic and elegant Senegalese Teranga show the exceptional level of fraternal and friendly relations as well as the common history and destiny that bind our two countries and our two peoples.
Mr. President, Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,
Choosing “the current challenges of multilateralism” as a theme of this year's forum seems wise and fully in line with some of the challenges, we are facing, especially in our sub-region.
However, you will allow me to situate this theme in the Sahel-Saharan context to draw some lessons useful for our appreciation of multilateralism as a whole.
It is certainly nothing new to tell you that we have been witnessing for some years now a deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel context and in particular to the disturbing resurgence of inter-community conflicts, despite the many local, regional and international initiatives aimed at establishing peace and security.
I propose today, given the seriousness of the situation and the major risk incurred by all our States, to speak to you without wooden language but of course with a spirit of African humility without the slightest pretension of teaching lessons.
The vulnerabilities of our vast Sahel space are essentially linked to three interdependent factors, to inhospitable and increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions, to a structural weakness of governance, to immense socio-demographic economic crises in our space covering at least partially a dozen of our countries. Water is a rare commodity to which access is a source of constant tension between communities, the already very low annual rainfall of 150 and 400 mm per year is affected by global warming with unusual fluctuations, making the resilience of populations increasingly precarious. Agro-pastoral activities, the main sources of income, have drastically fallen in recent years, accentuating poverty, economic precariousness and social disparities.
Moreover, the presence of state institutions in these vast desert areas and more or less inhabited is a major challenge, the recurrence of irredentist movements and especially the advent of terrorism in the early 2000s, associated - not to say nourished - by networks of traffickers and local criminals, have revealed the inability of most of our states to ensure their own security without outside support.
Large territories have become areas of lawlessness that escape the control of the States leaving the populations at the mercy of the very organized and more and more strongly equipped criminal groups.
Our States have quickly been confronted with major concomitant challenges: a large deficit in governance and social justice, deficiencies in defense and security capabilities, in addition to a weak regional and international coordination that has remained largely inadequate in the face of threats.
Economically, many states are facing precarious socio-economic conditions despite real economic potential, particularly in terms of mineral resources. The business climate is not attractive.
Economies based primarily on rent and sustenance are subject to fluctuations in world commodity prices and weather conditions. Economies no longer create jobs, especially for young girls and boys; the real losers of a failing educational system for many years, and to make it more difficult, in this lean time, much part of the state’s resources is devoted to defense and security at the expense of vital sectors such as health, education, access to water, and other aspects.
Demographically, birth rates are among the highest in the world with a very young population: those under 35 represent almost 70% of our populations.
Ignorance and extreme poverty expose a youth without perspective to fragile alternatives: the recruitment by terrorist groups and increasingly organized networks of traffickers and illegal immigration.
In terms of security threats, it should be noted that the fall of the Libyan state in 2011 was the multiplier element of the Sahel space burning. Since then, any attempt to fight against terrorism that wants to be effective must necessarily integrate the resolution of the Libyan crisis.
The terrorist activities of the armed groups have resulted in thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of displaced and refugees, the closure of hundreds of schools and more than 10 million people facing food insecurity. The connection between organized crime and inter-community conflicts undermine social cohesion and worsens the humanitarian situation.
Armed groups are financing themselves from the various forms of trafficking that are proliferating, particularly drugs. In ten years, the value of this traffic would amount to tens of billions of euros. Terrorist groups and other militias charge a right-of-way fee on convoys. Secret networks attract many unemployed youngsters.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen;
Far from this sad picture, we should welcome the crisis management initiatives emanating from our states and our strategic partners, such initiatives that have multiplied in recent years and have also shown, for some, their limits. I do not want to go into the details of these initiatives that will certainly be the subject of other interventions but I will cite as an example : the G-5 Sahel, the main initiative emanating from the States themselves and which unfortunately has not yet received the financial and logistical support promised, the operation BARKHANE, initiated and effectively supported by France, the precious multinational exercise FLINTLOCK, with the United States of America, the MUNISMA in Mali, the Field Country Initiative, the Sahel Alliance, the Nouakchott Process, the Accra Initiative and recently the ECOWAS Priority Action Plan that was created during the Ouaga summit, a promoter partnership between the countries of the sub-region.
I would also like to share some salient elements of the Mauritanian counter-terrorism strategy, which is sometimes cited as an example for its convincing results. This strategy was articulated around two main axes: an analytical reading of the geostrategic environment to define the typology and the root causes of the threat and the capacity building on the operational, legal, religious and socioeconomic levels with a view to taking into account this multiform threat efficiently.
On the legal side, strengthening the legal arsenal with a view to the judicialization of the terrorist act has made it possible to speed up the procedures for the criminal treatment of related offenses. The drying up of terrorist financing sources has been made possible by the strict monitoring of financial flows and the regulation of the procedures for the exchange and movement of funds and the financing of terrorism, through an opaque network of fictitious NGOs.
In terms of defense and security, the focus has been on training and upgrading the operational capabilities of the armed and security forces, strengthening intelligence channels, reorganizing the security apparatus, and creating special units and conducting preventive operations, in addition to active coordination with regional and international partners.
To dry up the sources of recruitment of terrorism, a campaign of de-radicalization led by renowned scholars has explained the meaning and scope of the message of tolerance of Islam totally at the antipodes of obscurantist discourses.
Repentants benefit from economic reintegration programs.
Returning to this year’s theme, I would like to make the following remarks: we have been witnessing for some years now a rise in nationalisms that challenge the UN mechanisms and certain multilateral agreements on the environment, trade and peacekeeping.
Yet, at a time of digital revolution, the world has become a global village where financial, macroeconomic and social issues, with climate, security and others interconnect and go beyond geographic and socio-cultural boundaries.
Sustainable management of the multiple factors of destabilization and their transnational characteristics necessarily requires collective responses.
In this framework, the strategic partnership with the United States of America, Europe, China, Russia, Japan, the Gulf States and others is relevant to strengthen the security apparatus and the modes of governance of the countries that constitute the vulnerable links. However, these multilateral co-operations must be based on the dual principle of the indivisibility of security and development issues and an exclusive role of supporting the actions of the countries concerned in accordance with the principles of democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
The UN, with its capacity and its position of neutrality vis-à-vis local and regional political tendencies, is the partner par excellence that must play a catalytic role in multilateral cooperation. For this, the UN must reform not only in terms of the composition of the permanent members of the Security Council, but also in its peacekeeping policy, which is not in line with the challenges of today’s terrorism.
Mobile, lighter regional forces with a better knowledge of the terrain must be privileged as a response rather than a heavy and static force with an often limited and costly mandate. The United Nations must thus give a more robust mandate and more sustainable funding to sub-regional forces, such as the G-5 Sahel joint force.
These regional forces complement United Nations multilateral efforts, which must be turned towards peacekeeping - once it exists of course - with long-term stabilization.
Today, a new initiative, which we welcome, launched by the Franco-German couple has been on the table: “the partnership for security and stability in the Sahel”. This initiative is welcome especially if it complements existing initiatives, particularly the G-5 Sahel.
In conclusion, security is a dual issue of governance and development. Strategies to curb this scourge of terrorism cannot work without a global and inclusive approach that tackles the root causes that create insecurity.
Substantial efforts must be made to create preconditions of peace, security and stability.
Thus, we must promote good governance, we must put people at the center of any development strategy, we must guarantee access to justice, strengthen the legal arsenal to adapt it to threat evolutions, ensure inclusive access to quality basic services, fight against ignorance and illiteracy, adopt job-creating economic policies, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, especially for young people, adapt training to market needs, monitor and dry up the sources of terrorist financing, conduct de-radicalization policies through religious scholars, and finally strengthen mechanisms for regional and international cooperation and, above all, strengthen multilateral cooperation.

Thank you”.
Last modification : 26/06/2020 10:20:03