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U.N. SG Ban Urges International Action To Help West Africa's Sahel Region

Speaking at the High-Level Meeting on the Sahel on the sidelines of the 67th U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday “called for urgent international support for the people and governments of West Africa’s Sahel region, warning that the area is at a critical juncture with 18 million people affected by a severe food crisis,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Political turmoil, extreme climatic conditions and fragile economies are combining to create a perfect storm of vulnerability,” Ban said, according to the news service. “The Sahel region is currently facing a swathe of problems, which are not only political but also involve security, humanitarian resilience and human rights,” the news service writes (9/26).

Ban “urged world leaders ‘not to abandon’ the Sahel region, but urged caution amid calls for military intervention to flush out armed Islamist rebels in northern Mali,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The region needs your attention, your focus. Do not abandon it and regret it later,” he said, according to AFP (9/26). “Ban said the U.N. is developing an Integrated Regional Strategy on the Sahel that will strengthen regional capacities to combat insecurity, prevent and respond to large-scale crises, and promote democratic governance and respect for human rights,” the U.N. News Centre notes (9/26).