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Saudi pledges $100m to fight extremism in West Africa

December 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech on 6 December 2017 [Bechir Ramzy/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia has pledged $100 million to form a West African force to fight so-called Islamist militants.

While the UAE pledged to provide $30 million for the same purpose, French President Emmanuel Macron revealed yesterday.

Macron announced this contribution during a meeting near Paris to boost international mobilisation around the five Sahel countries. He said Saudi Arabia and the UAE would provide the money to the force which fights terrorist groups in Mali and neighbouring countries.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE took part in their foreign ministers’ summit hosted by Paris in the presence of Germany and Italy, as well as leaders of the five countries participating in the force, to counter rising attacks in West Africa.

The Sahel Coast Guard, consisting of the armies of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, launched a military operation in October amid rising unrest in the Sahel to tackle infiltration of Daesh fighters.

Read: Saudi, UAE head to Paris to offer helping hand to West Africa force

Saudi Arabia was absent from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision to name Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

Riyadh’s non-attendance furthered suspicions that it gave Trump the go ahead prior to the announcement of his decision.