Mauritania Hosts 1st Offline Sahel Group Summit on Tuesday Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott on Tuesday is receiving the leaders of the G5 Sahel group in what is the first offline summit since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic

NOUAKCHOTT (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 30th June, 2020) The Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott on Tuesday is receiving the leaders of the G5 Sahel group in what is the first offline summit since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting is being attended by the leaders of Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania, as well as by French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will take part in the summit via a video conference.

The meeting will discuss a plan of action according to outputs of the Pau Summit on the security situation in the G5 Sahel countries that was held on January 13 in France, when the G5 Sahel member-states reaffirmed their commitment to fighting against jihadist groups on the Sahel-Saharan strip, and expressed the desire for France‘s continued military intervention.

France is conducting Operation Barkhan in the Sahel and Sahara, the goal of which is to stabilize the region and fight terrorism.

As part of the operation, France is cooperating with the G5 Sahel group.

The Nouakchott summit is also expected to include talks on financial assistance to help the region confront the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the development in fragile areas, as well as on military and logistical support to the African armed forces.

The summit is being held under exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus-related lockdown. All people who are taking part in the summit and those who organized it must undergo disease-related checks. So far, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa stands at over 330,000, according to the World Health Organization.

The Sahel is a bio-geographic zone of Africa, adjacent to the Sahara from the south in the form of semi-deserts, gradually turning into semi-savannas. Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Cape Verde are located on the territory of the Sahel in an area comparable to that of Western Europe.

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