African leaders, U.S., France, UN, others meet, seek global action against terrorism



Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas

IN their global efforts to end terrorism, African leaders last week converged in Dakar, Senegal, during a two-day conference to fashion out measures to stop the menace. The meeting, which is the second edition, hosted by the Senegalese President, Macky Sall, was convened by Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, which held at the King Fahd’s Palace.

Sall said that countries in the continent needed to mobilise themselves to be able to seek collaboration from the international community.

He suggested that to achieve effective results, terrorist activities and terrorism should be tackled from the root.

Also, Algeria’s former Advisor at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ahmed Mecheraoui, at the peace and security forum, advocated multi-network approach to tackling terrorism in the continent. Saying that better multi-networking, improved information analysis and community relationship will effectively tackle terrorism, Mecheraoui added that African leaders should also seek the help of the international community and must not be complacent or relent in this fight.

Meanwhile, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Department of Defence, United States of America, Elissa Slotkin, said that no country can win the war against terror alone, adding that if we must achieve peace, we must collectively fight the scourge. Slotkin suggested that military action must be joined with civilian action to achieve this.

Slotkin, while noting that the increasing alliance between networks has produced potential for terrorists to destabilise states and the continent, lamented that the youth is most prone to exposure to the danger as some of them are being recruited on-line since they use the social media more often.

Also, as part of efforts to end extremism, the Norwegian government set up a policy earlier this year articulated in White Paper to the Norwegian parliament. The paper, titled: “Global Security Challenges in Norway’s Foreign Policy,” has a particular focus on terrorism, organized crime, piracy and cyber threats.

According to Norway’s Special Envoy for the Sahel and Maghreb, Knut Langeland: “The White Paper proposes to set up two new programmes in development cooperation; one aimed at preventing and combating radicalization and extremism, which is a breeding ground for terrorism. The other programme will be devoted to fighting transnational organized crime, corruption and promoting law and order. Both programmes will each amount up to 100 million NOK (approximately 11 million USD).

“In carrying out this policy, we rely very much on a close partnership with others, such of course, the countries concerned, the United Nations, European Union, African Union and sub-regional organizations. Norway signed in January an agreement with the AU.

“The regional dimension must be stressed. For example, peace and stability in Mali will have a profound impact on the whole Sahel. Yet, peace cannot be fully consolidated in Mali, unless the neighborhood is also conducive. To build further on this notion, stability in Sahel relies very much on Libya and the broader Maghreb”, Langeland said.

Another underlying consideration in the White Paper is the need for further knowledge and analysis on the nexus crime, terror, fragility and underdevelopment. We plan to enhance our partnership with African research institution.

The underlying message of the White Paper is that our security landscape is fundamentally changing. Norwegian security and wellbeing are far more affected taken place in Africa, Middle-East than imagined only a few years back.

Even in my country, there is still resistance to the notion close interdependence between peace, stability and good governance, on the one hand, and social and economic progress on the other. A large part of our development assistance community had its formative years in the 1970s. In those days, the struggle against apartheid, de-colonisation, new economic order was very much on the top of the international agenda. Aid and relief workers were basically shut off from security policy. That has to change, he added.

Also at the forum, France Minister of Defence, Jean Yves Drian, said that this year’s event featured a high-level of representatives of Africa. He noted that there was an agreement among the leaders at the meeting to develop the forum, promising also to contribute to ensuring that Dakar is a cradle of security on the continent. While stating the resolve of Japan’s Defence minister to establish and develop a strong relationship with Africans on security matters, Drian added that Africa may on the long-run find serenity and security. On the crisis in Central Africa Republic (CAR), he said that the major element of security in Africa is that there is an army of security in CAR, adding that France will maintain its military in this area of security on election.

While, however, commenting on the excellent relationship between France and Senegal in the area of security, the France Defence Minister noted that the Senegalese Armed Forces are committed to peace-keeping which is their job, especially their role in the peace-keeping mission.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said: “The forum is the African network of discussion and challenges of security. The challenges reveal the impact of transnational threat to Africa”, adding that the inability to address this has led to a further spread of the scourge in the continent. He urged that climate change should be seen as a direct threat to Africa, example the Lake Chad Basin. While urging the need for international network collaboration against extremism, Chambas said that international military collaboration is an example for enhancing the needed support against terrorism in the continent. He said that France is working with the national and international forces to confront extremism.

The UN special representative also noted the financial support of the European Union to deal with Al-Shabaab in East Africa, adding that conflict prevention effort of the regional group should be encouraged.

The Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, who also delivered a keynote address at the forum, highlighted the issue of security funding as the hardest of all concerns. He said that Chad’s military has military diplomacy, adding that in 2005 to 2006, the nation was attacked on a large scale because of oil exploration. Mahamat said that any nation, which does not fund its security should be ready to see its country’s collapse.

While thanking the participants at the forum, Senegalese President Sall, represented by the nation’s Prime Minister, Mouhamed Boun, commended the forum for its timeliness, adding that its implementation will end terrorism and insecurity. He said Senegal reiterates its commitment to fighting insecurity in Africa and the world at large.

The second Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security was also organised by the Senegalese Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad) and the Pan-African Institute of Strategy, with the support of the French Ministry of Defense and the Association de soutien au Forum de Dakar (ASFORDAK), and the African Union and our international partners.

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