The United States supports the G5 countries' initiative to develop a joint force and deepen cooperation, which has the potential to improve security and complement the efforts of the peacekeeping mission in Mali. Toward that end, the United States will continue its longstanding bilateral support to the G5 members' security forces. We will also continue to work closely with our partners to help the G5 force be effective and well-coordinated with other counterterror efforts in the region. The United States is committed to stabilizing the Sahel region. We are proud to announce today that we plan to provide up to $60 million in bilateral assistance, which we will work with our Congress to identify, to help stand up the joint force.rdquo;
We understand the force will need ongoing support and are eager for opportunities to work closely with our partners to make this effort a successful one. But we believe that the G5 force must be, first and foremost, owned by the countries of the region themselves. We expect that the G5 countries will take on full regional ownership of the force within a period of three to six years, with continued U.S. engagement. This is the approach that will be most effective, in the end, in freeing the region from terror.rdquo;
Source: Africa Regional Media Hub.