The UK is deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel and recognizes violent extremist groups are benefiting from instability in the region. We are committed to working with the G5 Sahel countries and international partners to tackle the long-term drivers of instability, including factors that push local populations towards violent extremist groups. The UK also condemns attacks targeting particular religions or ethnic communities. Nobody should live in fear because of their identity or beliefs. The UK's commitment to the region was reiterated in a statement given on 5 June at the UN Security Council, where we strongly condemned violent extremist attacks, and called for all parties to respect international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of civilians. Later this year, the UK will be deploying to the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA. We are currently engaging with UN members on MINUSMA's mandate renewal to ensure the mission continues to support progress on the Mali Peace Process, helps contribute to stabilisation particularly in the Centre of Mali, and encourages effective and meaningful participation of women in the political process and peacekeeping efforts.
The Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and the sixth Summit of the G5 Leaders (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in Mauritania on 25 February and the virtual ministerial meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel on 12 June. At the meetings, he reaffirmed the UK's efforts to improve security and encourage development in the Sahel. As well as our upcoming MINUSMA deployment, the UK is supporting security efforts in the region through non-combat assistance to the French-led counter-terrorism mission Operation BARKHANE, in the form of three CH47 chinook helicopters. The UK is also committed to helping the G5 Sahel Joint Force reach full operational capability - bilateral funding has gone towards the provision of non-lethal military equipment and support for the human rights compliance framework. Our humanitarian and development programmes provide life-saving assistance to those most in need, help ensure the protection of civilians, and contribute to improving long-term governance and stability in the region.