26 September 2021

TRENDS Research and Advisory has issued a new study entitled: “Combating Terrorism and Diplomacy in the Sahel: The Togolese Initiative”. The study focuses on the process of building and maintaining peace in West Africa and the Sahel that aims to create regional and interregional prosperity based on regional humanitarianism and stability. The geographical proximity between the Gulf of Guinea and the Sahel region requires the solidarity that constitutes the basis and structural value of the regional and international commitments of the Republic of Togo.

The study shows that efforts to maintain peace and stability in the countries of the Sahel region means moving proactively to maintain stability in the Gulf of Guinea region and throughout West Africa. Saving the Sahel also means saving the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa. Therefore, the Republic of Togo has decided to enhance its role in the Sahel region to contribute to the construction of the Tower of Peace.

The study shows that since 2013, West African countries had adopted a political declaration and a common position of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the basis of a regional strategy to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime based on cooperation and collective action between different countries to respond to the threat.

The study adds that the ideals promoted and advocated by the Republic of Togo, which it seeks to  export to the Sahel region, are the spirit of listening, dialogue, solidarity, and mediation. These underpin the social and political conditions needed for promoting positive peace in a world of increasing violence and conflicts that pose significant cross-border challenges. There is an imperative need to search for the necessary political conditions to build lasting peace.

The study also states that Togolese diplomacy promises to promote peace due to the importance of achieving and defending it as an aspiration for both man and states, and that the irrationality of war and the brutality of some contemporary conflicts should not affect the various actors’ efforts to promote peaceful and tolerant methods of conflict management and resolution.

The study describes how the Republic of Togo supports various forms of military cooperation in the Sahel, and is one of the most commited contributors to the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of Mali (MINUSMA). The positive peace model, as well as the model of achieving peace by the use of force, addresses the need to promote nonviolent mechanisms and means to achieve peace.

The study also explains that Togolese diplomacy serves cooperation for peace, and contributes, through mediation, to spreading conciliation and mutual understanding. It does this by creating conditions and space for dialogue everywhere, with the aim of providing political and diplomatic support to the Sahel countries in their democratic transition, reforms of their social contract, and work to secure reconciliation.

The study explains that the war against terrorism, and measures for peace in West Africa and the Sahel region, requires the challenge of continuous improvement of the political governance of states and mechanisms of social and economic integration due to the risk that the growing gap in relations between the state and the population will weaken the authority of the state.

The study concludes that efforts to pacify and stabilize the Sahel region require a combination of military strategies to defend peace and efforts to mediate and urge political and other parties to engage in dialogue. However, the major challenge is to ensure that the current weaknesses in any country in the region do not serve the cause of international terrorism and its project to destabilize the Sahel.