UNITED NATIONS, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - Russia is closely watching the development of the situation in the Sahel and insists on a comprehensive solution to the problems of this African region, Russian president’s African envoy and chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federal Council upper parliament house, Mikhail Margelov, said on Thursday at a top level meeting on the situation in the Sahel during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He stressed that Russia would “offer all possible humanitarian and other assistance in cooperation with African partners, both at the bilateral and at multilateral levels.
According to Margelov, a support group tasked to monitor the situation in the Sahel and Mali would be useful in this context and Russia should be represented in such a group. “We insist on the comprehensive approach to the Sahel problems,” he said. “Surgical measures to check crises are inefficient,” since this region is characterized by “close relations between security and development.”
Of special concern for Russia, in his words, is the threat of turning the Sahel in a “seat of terrorist and criminal structures, illegal arms and drug trafficking.” The recent crisis in Mali was a serious challenge for the region, Margelov noted. “We are confident that the newly elected President, Ibrahim Keita, known as an acclaimed politician with a vast state experience and enjoying confidence of the majority of Malians, will be able to cope with the task of establishing dialogue, solving long-standing problems of the northern regions and resuming socio-economic development of the country,” he stressed.
Margelov stressed the importance of the comprehensive strategy for the Sahel developed by U.N. Secretary General’s envoy Romano Prodi. “We hope this strategy will play an important role in enhancing security and stability in the region,” he said, adding that national priorities of each country should be taken into consideration when this strategy is realized.