Sahelo-Saharan states can promote peace through diversity, UN official says

Sahelo-Saharan states can promote peace through diversity, UN official says

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
The 18-member Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) can use its diversity to promote regional peace and security, the United Nations envoy for West Africa said as he left for Mali, where the regional bloc's summit will take place this weekend.

"The eighteen countries that form the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States have the unique advantage of putting at the service of peace and security in the region the diverse links that unite their peoples, through a truly regional approach," Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said before leaving for Mali's capital, Bamako.

The 18 CEN-SAD leaders are scheduled to propose mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution in the context of peace and security issues in the region. Mr. Ould-Abdallah was to deliver a message from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Special Representative was on his way from Tunisia where, as a member of a tripartite delegation from Cameroon, Nigeria and the United Nations, he had meetings with officials from the African Development Bank (ADB) to drum up financial and diplomatic support for the work of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission on resolving a boundary problem.

CEN-SAD's members are Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia in the north, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea on the Horn of Africa and, in a swathe from east to west, Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic and Sudan.