Niger crisis could worsen security situation in West Africa: UN envoy

Xinhua , Wednesday 2 Aug 2023

The security situation in wider West Africa could worsen if the crisis in Niger is not resolved, the top UN envoy for the region said late on Tuesday.

Leonardo Santos Sim o
File Photo: Leonardo Santos Sim o, Special Representative of the United Nations for West Africa and the Sahel, Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), during a Security Council meeting. Photo courtesy of UN official website.


"The unfolding crisis, if not addressed, will exacerbate the deteriorating security situation in the region," Leonardo Santos Simão, the UN secretary-general's special representative for West Africa and the Sahel, told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York via video teleconference from Accra, Ghana.

It will also negatively impact the development and lives of the population in a country where 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance, added the envoy, who also heads the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

Simão underscored support for efforts by the Economic Community of West African States to restore democratic order in Niger, and warned that if measures are not taken, or the situation is not reversed, "it is very likely the spread of terrorism in the region can increase."

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday expressed deep concern over reports of the arrest of several members of Niger's government.

Guterres urgently called for the strict adherence to Niger's international human rights obligations and the prompt restoration of constitutional order, his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

Haq also said that the United Nations and humanitarian partners are committed to staying and continuing to provide vital aid to the most vulnerable segments of the population in Niger.

"To ensure the continuation of this crucial assistance, it is imperative that all parties foster a conducive operating environment," he said.

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