UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has paid tribute to African troops fighting terrorism in the Sahel, saying they were not only protecting those in the restive Sahel region - but also the whole world.
Gueterres made his comments at a press conference during the second annual UN-African Union conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday.
The two-day conference was part of ongoing efforts to strengthen relations between the two organisations and topics discussed included peace and security issues.
The UN chief also stated that recent developments in Africa indicated that the continent was increasingly moving in the “direction of peace” and enhanced security.
“We feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict has raged since 2013.
But the UN chief also focused on what he described as the “dramatic crises” in Africa, where the UN has deployed peacekeeping missions in four countries - the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali and South Sudan.
He said the rise of armed groups and international terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, means that these operations are not involved in “traditional” peacekeeping, and he cited the need for more funding, particularly in enforcing peace and countering terrorism.
The Secretary-General also called for greater support for the UN’s Agenda 2030 and African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which address long-term economic development.