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UN: Positive Developments in West Africa, but Challenges Persist

  • Larry Freund

Salou Djibo (C), leader of the military junta that overthrew Niger's strongman president days earlier, shakes hands with the U.N's Said Djinnit as Ramtane Lamamra of the African Union looks on, following talks between the junta and international envoys at

Salou Djibo (C), leader of the military junta that overthrew Niger's strongman president days earlier, shakes hands with the U.N's Said Djinnit as Ramtane Lamamra of the African Union looks on, following talks between the junta and international envoys at

A senior United Nations official for West Africa said Friday the region has seen positive political developments since the beginning of the year.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Said Djinnit, the U.N. special representative for West Africa, listed several positive developments in the region. They include the resolution of the post-election crisis in Ivory Coast, the restoration of constitutional order in Niger, and the organization of credible elections in a number of countries, including Nigeria. Despite these achievements, however, Djinnit said stability in West Africa continues to be fragile and there are many challenges before it. He spoke through a translator.

“Instability linked to elections continues to be a significant challenge, especially when we look at the number of elections which are planned in the coming years in West Africa,” said Djinnit.

Djinnit also said there is concern in West Africa about the impact of the Libyan crisis on the region. The humanitarian and security consequences, he said, could worsen the chronic instability in the region, particularly in the countries of the Sahel.

The Security Council, in its own statement, welcomed what it called the progress made towards greater stability and peace in West Africa. But the statement - read by council president Peter Wittig of Germany - echoes the concerns of the special representative for West Africa.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their concern that the progress remains fragile, in view of recurrent threats to peace and security in the sub-region, including terrorism and transnational organized crime, including illicit drug trafficking, as well as election-related violence,” said Wittig.

The Security Council encouraged the continued engagement of the international community to ensure that progress made in preventing conflict and consolidating democracy in West Africa is sustained.

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