Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis attended an informal meeting in Paris on Wednesday at the invitation of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the security situation in the Sahel, where he welcomed the meeting being held before a European Union – African Union summit, underscoring the need to maintain unity and coordination, including with regional partners, as well as to continue joint efforts to ensure peace and security in the region to the benefit of the citizens, according to the Romanian Presidential Administration.
At the meeting, the European leaders of the Takuba Task Force countries, together with a number of African partners, addressed the political and security developments in the Sahel and voiced support for Mali and the Malian people in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability, and for continuing the fight against terror in the Sahel region.
The Presidential Administration reports that the participants agreed that the security situation no longer allows the presence of both the French forces (Operation Barkhane) and the Takuba Task Force in Mali. At the same time, they reconfirmed their commitment to peace and stability in the Sahel, including through a possible redeployment of those forces in the Sahel area and the neighbouring regions in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The President of Romania emphasised that ensuring security and stability in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood is all the more important as we face acute security challenges in the Eastern Neighbourhood, close to Ukraine and the Black Sea,” according to the Presidential Administration.
The Romanian chief of state also said that, in solidarity with African partners, Romania approved in 2021 the deployment of its troops in the Takuba Multinational Counter-Terrorism Force, in coordination with the G5 Sahel forces, with its decision being an expression of its strong commitment to security in the Sahel.
“The President of Romania expressed his regret at the rapid deterioration of the political situation in Mali, which led to the decision to withdraw the Takuba Task Force from the country. President Klaus Iohannis reconfirmed Romania sticking by its commitment, with adjustments in implementation to reflect the regional security developments, saying that that the priority remains to ensure the security of civilians threatened by terror and surging violence,” the Presidential Administration shows.
Iohannis also emphasised the importance of continuing to explore available options, together with regional actors, in order to facilitate de-escalation of tensions.
He also underscored the need to get African partners involved in the fight against terror in the Sahel and to prevent the spread of this phenomenon in neighbouring regions.
Iohannis is attending an informal European Council meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow on the latest developments in the security situation at Ukraine’s borders, and the 6th European Union-African Union summit.