President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Support to Sahel countries to prevent new migratory flows

2018-02-23

Friday, February 23, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė is attending the international high level conference on the Sahel. The conference focuses on helping Africa’s Sahel countries to fight terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration in an effort to stop irregular refugee flows to Europe.

The President underlined that ensuring stability in this region is very important for Europe as it seeks to eliminate the root causes of migration and to prevent a new influx of refugees. In order for people to stay in their home country, the President said, more investment is needed to help the Sahel region deal with turbulences, war and extreme poverty - all of which give rise to massive irregular migration.

The conference gave a go-ahead to the EU Assistance Fund for the Sahel, which will help the region to strengthen its economy, fight poverty, create jobs, and improve education, health care and social protection. Last year, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution backing a 5,000-strong African joint force to protect external borders, combat terrorism and crime in Sahel countries. It was agreed at the conference to allocate 50 million euros for supporting the joint force. Other world countries will also contribute to its funding.

Lithuania is actively engaged in international efforts to ensure peace, stability and development in the Sahel. It has delegated soldiers to serve in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and has launched development cooperation projects in the region. Lithuania contributes to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and provides humanitarian aid through the Red Cross and World Food Programme.

The conference gathered heads of state and government from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, other EU countries, also from Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad, as well as high level of attendance from the World Bank, the United Nations and the African Union. The Sahel region, located south of the Sahara Desert, spans nine countries and stretches across Africa from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2018.02.23 13:28

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