PRESS RELEASE 154
Minister for Foreign Affairs concludes her first trip to the Sahel, after visiting Niger and Chad
10/10/2020
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, has just concluded her first trip to the Sahel after visiting Niger and Chad in her capacity as the President of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance, following her election in June. Her mandate, as Spain’s representative, is exercised for a period of one year.

Arancha González Laya, during her three-day visit, had the chance to observe on the ground the reasons why the Sahel is a priority region for Spain, to which end significant resources and efforts are being made to accompany its members in their peace, development and stability processes and in the fight against illegal immigration. She also witnessed the importance of the Sahel Alliance as a forum for development to respond to the security, economic and humanitarian challenges in the region.

By making this visit to Niger and Chad, which takes place following two visits by the minister to Mauritania, which holds the Presidency of the G5 Sahel, Arancha González Laya underlined Spain’s commitment and support for the region in political, development and security terms.

The minister explained at her meetings at the very highest level in both Niger and Chad that Spain’s aims have been marked during its Presidency by seeking to enhance and give greater visibility to the Sahel Alliance, maintaining more fluid dialogue and establishing more trust with the G5 Sahel countries, structuring the position of the Sahel Alliance in the Coalition for the Sahel and increasing the number of members and observers.

The goals outlined by the minister at these meetings have been accompanied by a series of priorities that Spain has set and which begin with the response that the countries must give to the COVID-19 crisis and its socio-economic consequences (job creation and investment opportunities); food security and climate change; women, peace and security, and governance.

During her meetings, the minister recalled the Spain’s commitment to the Sahel Alliance has been consolidated since it became a member in January 2018, and that this commitment can be quantified in the 91 projects that Spain has developed in the region to date, to which end it has allocated a total of 124 million euros.

During her meetings with both the political and institutional authorities and with the heads of security and development cooperation, Arancha González Laya was able to see the serious security, economic and humanitarian crisis in the region which, due to its proximity to Spain, is a strategic priority for our country.

As part of her intense agenda over these two days, the minister took the opportunity to make a symbolic delivery of humanitarian aid to Niger, which preceded today’s shipment of 15 tonnes of European humanitarian material from Spain, within the framework of ECHO to cover the needs of part of the Nigerien people affected by the flooding in the country. And a very important part of her trip was focused on the work of Spanish Cooperation, which the FIIAPP Foundation also forms part of, which is present in the Sahel region, coordinating and managing international cooperation between police forces to fight citizen and border insecurity. Arancha González Laya held a meeting with the teams run by the FIIAPP in Niger together with the Guardia Civil and the National Police, the GAR-SI and ECI, who explained to her how they are trying to strengthen the police institutions in the country with the aim of tying in security, peace and development. The minister also visited several water and sanitation projects conducted under the Sahel Alliance, accompanied by the other members of this Alliance.



-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​​

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