The Michael S. Ansari Africa Center hosted a roundtable today on the crisis in the Sahel with H.E. Marou Amadou, minister of justice, guardian of seals, and spokesperson of the government the Republic of Niger.
The minister, who is in Washington for meetings with US officials before traveling to New York to represent his country at a high-level United Nations conference on the situation in the Sahel, spoke about the challenges which the region and the international community face in the wake of the revolution in Libya, the outflow of fighters and weapons to the Maghreb and the Sahel, and the subsequent takeover of northern Mali by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists and other militants. He was accompanied to the event by H.E. Maman Sidikou, Niger’s ambassador to the United States.
Also attending the discussion and briefly addressing the forum were H.E. Daouda Diabaté, ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire, whose country currently holds the chairmanship of the subregional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and H.E. Seydou Bouda, ambassador of Burkina Faso, whose president is the designated subregional mediator for the Malian crisis.
Ansari Center Director J. Peter Pham welcomed participants to the event and moderated the discussion, which included US government officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, leading academic and think tank Africa experts, and members of the business community.