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N'Djamena, 5 June 2017: The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited N'Djamena, on 6 June 2017, as part of his five-nation tour in the Sahel region, which will conclude on 10 June 2017. The objective was to reaffirm the AU's solidarity with, and support to, the regional efforts aimed at addressing the intertwined challenges of terrorism and transnational organized crime, in order to create an environment conducive to long-term stability and sustainable development in the Sahelo-Saharan region.

While in N'Djamena, the Chairperson of the Commission met with President Idriss Deby Itno, to whom he expressed AU's appreciation for his leadership in the fight against terrorism and organized crime in the Sahelo-Saharan region, highlighting the huge sacrifices made and the significant results achieved so far. He took the opportunity to laud the cooperative endeavors of the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission - LCBC (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria), with the establishment of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and of the G5 countries, with the ongoing efforts to operationalize the already agreed regional force involving  Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

"These regional security initiatives bear testimony to the commitment of the AU member states to enhance their collective efforts towards lasting security and stability on the continent, as well as to the ability of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) to adjust to the peculiar security challenges facing Africa. They are part of the implementation process of the relevant decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), in particular the communiqué adopted at the PSC Summit level meeting on Terrorism and Violent Extremism held in Nairobi, in September 2014, under the chairmanship of President Deby Itno", said the Chairperson of the Commission. He provided an update on the steps being taken by the AU Commission in support of both the MNJTF and the Sahel G5 Force, most notably in mobilizing adequate international support and securing the endorsement of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

Chairperson Faki Mahamat and President Deby Itno also exchanged on other peace and security challenges confronting the continent, including the situation in the Central African region. They emphasized the need and urgency of sustained African efforts, with the support of the UN and other members of the international community, to advance, in a mutually supportive way, the key objectives of peace, reconciliation and justice.The N'Djamena meeting also took place in the context of the ongoing AU Reform Agenda, as decided by the Heads of State and Government at their January 2017 Summit in Addis Ababa. The goal is to transform the AU, with the view to reinforcing its management, efficiency and financing, as well as better aligning its activities to the needs of the AU member states and aspirations of African citizens. President Déby Itno, along with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea, is a member of the Troïka mandated by the Summit to oversee the implementation of the Reform Agenda.

Furthermore, the meeting with President Deby Itno provided an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in the follow-up to the AU 2017 Summit theme - “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend on the Investment in Youth” - of which President Déby Itno is a Champion.

Progress made on both issues will feature on the agenda of the AU Ordinary Summit due to take place in Addis Ababa in July 2017.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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