At a subsequent press conference, Macron said they had agreed on political and military goals. The meeting was to continue at night, with the participation of the EU's External Representative Josep Borrel and President of the Council Charles Michel.
"The joint communiqué expresses the wish that French and Europeans stay on site," said the French President. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso and Acting Chairman of the G5 Sahel, added: "We are experiencing a crisis that has never happened in the Sahel."
One does not live up to the expectations of the population. "From now on, the priority of military operations is on the border triangle (Mali, Niger and Burkina-Faso)," said Kaboré. One has to "ensure that the authority of the state is restored." The care of displaced and sick people must also make progress.
The four other heads of state did not take the chance to express themselves and instead provided silence. Macron had hoped that they would publicly commit themselves to the fight against terrorism and counter the growing anti-French propaganda.
"Why is France in the Sahel?" Meanwhile, the French President asked at the press conference and then provided the answer: "For two simple reasons, because we are at war against terrorist groups that have joined Al Qaeda and ISIS. And to enable the Sahel states to exercise their full sovereignty. "
The security situation in the Sahel has deteriorated dramatically in recent months. At the end of November, 13 French soldiers died during a mission when their helicopters collided. The losses on the part of the African armies have been even higher recently.
Last week, 89 Nigerian soldiers died in a terrorist attack on a military camp. As recently as December, 70 soldiers were killed when a terrorist group attacked another base. "The countries of the Sahel, in particular Mali and Burkina Faso, have long since lost their effective control over large parts of the country, and the presence of the security forces and state administration has been non-existent in many provinces," according to a recent analysis by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Dissatisfaction with the civilian population
But the civilian population is also becoming a victim of attacks – and is becoming increasingly angry. The fact that security, despite the anti-terrorist struggle that has been going on for seven years, is getting worse rather than better meets incomprehension. There are more and more demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of French troops. People accuse them of a “hidden agenda” or even “neocolonialist intentions”.
Macron's advisors therefore speak of a double danger of decoupling: the armies of Mali, Nigers and Burkina Fasos have increasing difficulties to withstand. In addition, public opinion is overturning and is opposed to the joint efforts of Europeans with the G5 Sahel states. At the same time, “doubts about our involvement in the Sahel are also increasing in France,” warn the Elysée experts.
For these reasons, Macron had scheduled the summit, originally for mid-December. The goal of the meeting: "Everyone should go home with precise commitments." They wanted a common road map. The aim is to clarify what is necessary to change the balance of power again, "which is not cheap for us, especially in the border triangle of Niger, Mali and Burkina-Faso," Macron's people said before the meeting.
Therefore, it was decided on Monday to concentrate the military actions on the border area of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. In future there will be a joint command of the French operation "Barkhane" and the G5 countries. The French army also wants to help them with better military intelligence.
From a German perspective, the Sahel looks far away. Sometimes there is a tendency to dismiss what is going on there as a French problem. However, there is an acute danger that terrorist groups from IS or Al Qaeda will remain there permanently after they have just been defeated in Iran and Syria. They could very quickly use an area under their control as a retreat to carry out attacks in Europe.
In the future, the French army will also assist the Sahel military with a new group of special forces during operations. Several European countries will take part, from Denmark to Spain to the Czech Republic. Germany has refused but continues to train Mali's army.
More: German Development Minister Müller wants a fresh start for the EU relationship with the neighboring continent. The EU should no longer only use Africa as a sales market.
. (tagsToTranslate) France (t) Emmanuel Macron (t) Sahel-Zone (t) Anti-Terror (t) G6 (t) Mali (t) Niger (t) Burkina Faso (t) Mauritania (t) Chad (t) Armed Forces (t) Extremism (t) Crime (t) External Military Operations (t) Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (t) Emmanuel Macron