‘Arc of Instability’ across Africa, If Left Unchecked, Could Turn Continent into Launch Pad for Larger-Scale Terrorist Attacks, Security Council Told
‘Arc of Instability’ across Africa, If Left Unchecked, Could Turn Continent into Launch Pad for Larger-Scale Terrorist Attacks, Security Council Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6965th Meeting (AM)
‘Arc of Instability’ across Africa, If Left Unchecked, Could Turn Continent
into Launch Pad for Larger-Scale Terrorist Attacks, Security Council Told
Presidential Statement Issued; Secretary-General, African Union, ECOWAS,
Anti-Money-Laundering Action Group Speak in Meeting Organized by Togo’s President
An “arc of instability” was stretching across Africa’s Sahara and Sahel region, and if left unchecked, it could transform the continent into a breeding ground for extremists and a launch pad for larger-scale terrorist attacks around the world, delegates in the Security Council stressed today during a high-level debate on combating that growing scourge across the region.
In a presidential statement, the Council expressed its deep concern with the increasing violence perpetrated by armed groups, whose numbers were growing in several regions and subregions of Africa, where porous borders, illegal arms trafficking and difficult socioeconomic situations had made it difficult to effectively combat terrorism.
“The Security Council recognizes that terrorism will not be defeated by military force or security forces, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone,” the statement declared, underlining the need to address the conditions conducive to terrorism’s spread, including by “strengthening efforts for the prevention and peaceful resolution of prolonged conflicts, and also promoting the rule of law, protection of human rights, good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness”.
Further to the text, the Council underscored that the long-term fight against terrorism required a comprehensive approach, which dealt with the challenges of increasing economic growth, promoting good governance, reducing poverty, building State capacity, extending social services and fighting corruption in Africa and elsewhere. It noted the changing nature of terrorism in the continent and expressed concern at the connection — in many cases — between terrorism and illicit activities, such as drugs, arms and human trafficking.
With that in mind, it reaffirmed the need for African States to work closely and directly through the African Union and other regional frameworks to implement enhanced measures for cooperation, mutual assistance and coordination among security agencies, prosecutors and judges. The Secretary-General was invited to submit within six months a comprehensive survey of the United Nations’ work to help States, subregional and regional entities in Africa in fighting terrorism.
“Terrorism thrives where borders are weakest,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the high-level debate. Poorly guarded and stored ammunition stockpiles provided unfettered access to weapons, especially parts for improvised explosive devices — the terrorist’s frequent weapon of choice. For its part, the United Nations must do more to enhance the capacity of affected States.
Noting that United Nations missions were already working to strengthen police and law enforcement capacities, he welcomed efforts by regional and subregional organizations to formulate counter-terrorism strategies, which would help identify common threats, prioritize responses, strengthen collaboration, and target international assistance to the areas it was most needed.
Broadly agreeing, Abdullahi Shehu, Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), said any comprehensive approach must address the financial aspects of terrorism. Many national legal frameworks lacked a clear definition of terrorist financing, and showed an inadequate understanding of Security Council resolutions related to terrorism, terrorist proliferation and financing. Countries often were unable to freeze terrorist assets. As such, achieving peace and security required strategic partnerships, as well as stronger political leadership to combat organized crime and implementation of an early warning system. Building capacity and supporting States in establishing the rule of law and good governance were also critical.
In the debate that followed, delegates stressed that terrorist groups in Africa — Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Movement pour L’Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest and Ansar Eddine among them — had become more dangerous, diffuse and entrepreneurial, exploiting porous borders, economic stresses and a diminished focus on counter-terrorism. They thrived in unstable conditions that failed to address long-standing grievances. Such success had paved a way for Al-Qaida, in particular, to shift its centre of gravity from Afghanistan and Pakistan to a new sanctuary — especially in Mali – closer to European shores. Against that backdrop, speakers made impassioned pleas to deploy all tools available to stem their influence, including diplomacy, aid, trade and security cooperation.
“If we don’t give African Governments the means to carry out an effective and sustainable counter-terrorism strategy, there is every reason to fear the creation of that terrorist arc from Mauritania to Nigeria and beyond to the Horn of Africa, said Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of Togo, whose country holds the Council’s rotating presidency for May. Most crucial in that regard was combating poverty, which he said destroyed the very basis of human solidarity.
Téte António, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said “narco-terrorism” had given rise to new forms of “mercenarism” in Africa, with fighters motivated more by financial gain than ideological persuasion. Winning the war against them would require a firm, focused, coordinated and collective international effort, which tackled root causes and included measures to prevent terrorists from carrying out their acts. Considerable resources and the convergence of like-minded specialized institutions were needed.
On that point, Youssoufou Bamba ( Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said the Community’s holistic approach contained a full array of measures, including a strategic orientation to confine and eliminate the terrorist threat. To that end, ECOWAS would establish a coordinating unit, issue arrest warrants and create a blacklist of terrorists, with a view to sharing information and coordinating actions. In such work, he called for technical assistance institutions, development partners and others to coordinate their activities with ECOWAS to vanquish the threat.
The victory against extremism and terror, proclaimed Tekeda Alemu ( Ethiopia), in his capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), would occur only when the root causes were addressed. “It is impossible to ensure acceptable levels of peace and security in the face of abject poverty and deprivation,” he said. And, without genuine, effective international cooperation, there was little chance of success. He cautioned against drawing distinctions among groups that resorted to terror, based on where the act was committed, as that would defeat the spirit of cooperation.
Also speaking today were foreign affairs ministers and other high-level officials from Luxembourg, Morocco, United States, Republic of Korea and Argentina, as well as representatives of Rwanda, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, United Kingdom, Pakistan, China, France, Guatemala, Australia, Sudan, Algeria, Benin and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union also spoke.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and adjourned at 2:08 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/5 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
“The Security Council notes with deep concern that terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to international peace and security, the enjoyment of human rights and social and economic development of States, and undermines global stability and prosperity in Africa, in particular that this threat has become more diffuse, with an increase, in various regions of the world, of terrorist acts including those motivated by intolerance and extremism.
“The Security Council recalls all its resolutions and statements on counter-terrorism, reiterates its strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, and expresses its determination to combat by all means terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including applicable international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
“The Security Council is deeply concerned by the increasing violence perpetrated by armed groups, the number of which is growing in several regions and subregions of Africa. The Security Council is all the more concerned as the States in these regions are faced with difficulties such as porous borders which continue to pose challenges to border control, and the increasing illegal trafficking of arms; these States furthermore face difficult socioeconomic situations, which result in a lack of means and resources to effectively combat terrorism. The Council recognizes the importance of strong and effective national, subregional and regional institutions in this regard.
“The Security Council recognizes that terrorism will not be defeated by military force or security forces, law enforcement measures, and intelligence operations alone, and underlines the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including, but not limited to, strengthening efforts for the successful prevention and peaceful resolution of prolonged conflicts, and also promoting the rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness.
“The Security Council underscores that the long term fight against terrorism must adopt a comprehensive approach by dealing with the challenges of increasing economic growth, promoting good governance, reducing poverty, building state capacity, extending social services and fighting corruption, particularly in Africa, but also in other regions.
“The Security Council reaffirms that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.
“The Security Council also reaffirms that Member States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, and shall also give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any State against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
“The Security Council notes with concern that terrorist threats jeopardize the security of the countries in the subregions concerned and, consequently, of the entire continent, and negatively impact the efforts by African States to promote social and economic development. The Security Council recognizes that development and security are mutually reinforcing and are vital to an effective and comprehensive approach to countering terrorism.
“The Security Council notes the changing nature and character of terrorism in Africa, expresses its concern regarding the connection, in many cases, between terrorism and transnational organized crime and illicit activities such as drugs, arms and human trafficking and emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international peace and security.
“The Security Council recalls resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), 1373 (2001), 1540 (2004) and 1624 (2005), as well as other applicable international counter-terrorism instruments, stresses the need for their full implementation, renews its call on States to consider becoming parties as soon as possible to all relevant international conventions and protocols, and to fully implement their obligations under those to which they are party, and notes the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 51/210, noting that more time was required to achieve substantive progress on the outstanding issues, and deciding to recommend that the Sixth Committee, at its sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, establish a working group with a view to finalizing the process on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
“The Security Council considers sanctions an important tool in countering terrorism, and underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of the relevant resolutions, in particular, Security Council resolution 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) as key instrument in the fight against terrorism. The Security Council reiterates its continued commitment to ensure that fair and clear procedures exist for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists and for removing them, as well as for granting humanitarian exemptions.
“The Security Council reiterates the need to increase ongoing cooperation among committees with counter-terrorism mandates established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), 1988 (2011),1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004) and their respective groups of experts.
“The Security Council reiterates its readiness to impose sanctions on individuals and entities who harbour, finance, facilitate, support, organize, train, or incite individuals or groups to perpetrate acts of violence or terrorist acts against other States or their citizens in Somalia or its region in accordance with its relevant resolutions, and other regional networks as well as individuals, groups, undertakings and entities who do not cut off all ties to Al-Qaida and associated groups, including Al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), “Mouvement pour l'Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest” (MUJAO) and Ansar Eddine, in accordance with resolution 2083 (2012).
“The Security Council notes that the relevant instruments of the African Union on the prevention of and the fight against terrorism, in particular, the 1999 Algiers Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol, and the Plan of Action on the Prevention of Terrorism, and welcomes the steps taken by African Statesat the national and regional levels to combat terrorism.
“The Council, taking note of the African Union’s decision in its 8 December 2011 communiqué, strongly condemns the incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions, notes the increase in such kidnappings in the Sahel region, and underscores the urgent need to address these issues. The Council further expresses its determination to combat kidnapping and hostage-taking in the Sahel region, in accordance with applicable international law and, in this regard, notes the publication of the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) “Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists.
“The Security Council reiterates the obligation of Member States to refrain, consistent with international law, from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in or associated with terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups, and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists; and recognizes the need to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations, including from the proceeds of illicit activities, such as organized crime, the trafficking and illicit production of narcotic drugs and their chemical precursors, and the importance of continued international cooperation towards that aim.
“The Security Council acknowledges the important work of the United Nations entities and other multilateral organizations in supporting efforts to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist organisations, in particular the Financial Action Task Force, the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force in promoting capacity and cooperation (MENAFATF).
“The Security Council emphasizes that continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures, and addressing unresolved regional conflicts and the full range of global issues, including development issues, will contribute to strengthening the international fight against terrorism.
“The Security Council reaffirms the need for African States to work closely and directly through the relevant bodies of the African Union and other regional frameworks for the implementation of enhanced measures for cooperation, mutual assistance and coordination between security agencies, prosecutors and judges, with a view to making the collective endeavours of Africa more effective, and specifically, more proactive, in combating terrorism, and emphasizes the need to take all necessary and appropriate measures in accordance with international law,to include protections for the right to life and other human rights in Africa.
“The Security Council is concerned about extremism and the incitement of terrorism in African States and emphasizes the importance of countering violent extremism in the fight against terrorism, including by addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and building community resilience to resist incitement by promoting tolerance, diversity, respect and dialogue.
“The Security Council recognizes the support provided by bilateral and multilateral actors, including the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the League of Arab States (LAS) and subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Sahelo Saharan States (CENSAD), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) to efforts aimed at combating terrorism in Africa and calls on the international community and the United Nations system to strengthen their cooperation with the counter-terrorism subregional bodies such as the African Centre for Studies and Research on Terrorism (CAERT).
“The Security Council recalls the crucial role of the Counter Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate (CTED) in ensuring the full implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005) and underlines the importance of capacity-building and technical assistance with a view to increasing the capabilities of Member States for an effective implementation of its resolutions, encourages the CTED to continue to work with Member States, at their request, and to assess and facilitate technical assistance, in particular, in close cooperation within the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), as well as with all bilateral and multilateral technical assistance providers and welcomes the focused and regional approach of CTED aimed at addressing the counter-terrorism needs of each Member State and region.
“The Security Council notes with appreciation the activities undertaken in the area of capacity-building by United Nations entities, including the CTITF, in coordination with other relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to assist African Member States, upon their request, in implementing the Strategy, and encourages the Task Force to ensure focused delivery of capacity-building assistance.
“The Security Council urges Sahel and Maghreb States to enhance interregional cooperation and coordination in order to develop inclusive and effective strategies to combat in a comprehensive and integrated manner the activities of terrorist groups, namely Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), “Mouvement pour l'Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest” (MUJAO), and Ansar Eddine, and prevent the expansion of those groups as well as to suppress the proliferation of all arms and fight transnational organized crime, including drug trafficking and, in this regard, takes note of the outcome of the Conference organized by CTED and CTITF in Rabat on the Cooperation on Border Control in the Sahel and the Maghreb, as well as the outcome of the ministerial meeting on the enhancement of cooperation in security and the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharian region held in Nouakchott.
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of an effective criminal justice response to terrorism by national jurisdictions and underlines the importance of strengthening cooperation among Member States and with United Nations entities and subsidiary bodies with a view to enhancing their individual capabilities, including by supporting their efforts to develop and implement rule of law based counterterrorism practices”, and notes the publication of the “Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counter-terrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector.
“The Security Council recognizes that the scourge of terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving active participation and collaboration of all States, and relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, and underlines the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, as outlined in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288). The Security Council encourages Member States to develop comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism strategies.
“The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to submit, within 6 months, a concise report providing a comprehensive survey and assessment of the United Nations relevant work to help States, subregional and regional entities in Africa in fighting terrorism, with the view to continue consideration of possible steps in this regard.”
The Security Council met today for an open debate on “Peace and security in Africa: the challenges of the fight against terrorism in Africa in the context of maintaining international peace and security”.
United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said terrorism threatened peace, security and development in Africa. From Al-Shabaab in the East, to Boko Haram in the West, to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in the North, extremists and terrorist entities had hardened their presence on the continent. In Somalia, important progress had been made, as Al-Shabaab had been chased away from a number of strategic places. But to consolidate gains, there was a great deal to be done in the context of the rule of law, development and the political transformation of country. The new United Nations mission would contribute to such efforts by providing strategic orientation on security-sector reform, and helping to strengthen the police and justice sectors, as well as the prison system.
In Mali and the Sahel, the international community had confronted “with determination” the rapid degradation of the situation, he said, notably by deploying a peacekeeping operation charged with extending the State’s authority and building legitimate governance instruments. It would carry out those duties in parallel with actions to combat the insurrection in a new geopolitical context that presented big challenges for the security of United Nations personnel, including humanitarian and other personnel.
“Military advances, important as they are, will not by themselves bring an end to terrorism in Africa,” he said. The struggle must advance on many fronts, including by addressing the conditions that were conducive to the spread of terrorism.
In the Sahel, for example, the United Nations was developing an integrated strategy aimed at enhancing governance and the rule of law, strengthening the capacity of national and regional security mechanisms and integrating development and humanitarian activities to build resilience, he said. Without such a holistic and sustained approach, there was a risk that the threat would simply be pushed from one area to another.
Indeed, terrorism thrived where borders were weakest, he explained, noting that poorly guarded and stored ammunition stockpiles provided unfettered access to weapons, especially parts for improvised explosive devices — the frequent weapon of choice for terrorists. Further, the lack of development and rule of law allowed terrorists to recruit “across communities”, with opportunistic links between them and transnational organized criminals ensuring constant flow of people, money, weapons and illicit goods across borders.
In such a climate, the United Nations must do more to strengthen the capacity of affected States, he said, noting that — throughout Africa — United Nations missions were already helping to strengthen police and law enforcement, and to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force was active in West Africa, including in Nigeria and Burkina Faso, as well as in North Africa. In Central Africa, the United Nations was working to reduce the flow of small arms, while in the East; it was facilitating the development of a regional strategy. And in Southern Africa, where the terrorist threat was less imminent, the United Nations was working with the African Union on the crucial issue of prevention.
In that context, he welcomed initiatives undertaken by regional and subregional organizations to formulate counter-terrorism strategies, explaining that they would help to identify common threats, prioritize responses, strengthen collaboration, improve coordination and target international assistance to the themes and areas where it was most needed. Joint efforts must be carried out in line with the United Nations Charter and international law, with due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“The United Nations is strongly committed to doing its part to combat terrorism in Africa,” he declared, adding that “success is crucial for enabling Africans to meet their aspirations to live in dignity and peace”.
ABDULLAHI SHEHU, Director General, Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) — a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aimed at helping member States control and prevent transnational organized crime, in particular, terrorist financing and money-laundering — stressed that “peace is not necessarily the absence of war”. Instead, it was a general sense of happiness and the lack of negative conditions such as poverty. It was impossible to fully understand the security situation in Africa without understanding the risk factors. Indeed, many African States had long been at war. Political corruption, the lack of respect for the rule of law and human rights violations accounted for the existence of many of those conflicts.
In West Africa, for example, a majority of the population was young and the region’s combined gross domestic product (GDP) did not measure up to that of even one of the world’s most developed States. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimated that 12 out of the 15 ECOWAS States, as of 2009, fell under the low human development group, with one having the lowest human development ranking in the world. Under those conditions, it was almost impossible to address the factors that fostered criminality in the region. In addition, the arms trade — both licit and illicit — had a significant impact on conflict and its resolution, and the activities of multinational oil companies often exacerbated a “vicious cycle” of instability.
The prevention of money-laundering was crucial in the context of protecting the international financial system from abuse and preventing insecurity, he said. The location of terrorism often depended on instability, but its effects were widespread. Most African countries were incapable of dealing with such problems in isolation. In Africa, as in other developing regions, the overall impact of the aforementioned risk factors — including poverty, unemployment and human rights violations — contributed to the rising spate of terrorist activities. Political corruption often led to the emergence of leaders who came to power illegitimately, and there were the problems of weak national legal frameworks and competing priorities under limited resources, among others.
He said that any comprehensive approach must address the financial aspects of terrorism. In many national legal frameworks there was no clear definition of terrorist financing, and often there were inadequate understandings of Security Council resolutions related to terrorism, terrorist proliferation and financing. There was often an inability at the national level to freeze terrorist assets, as well as a poor understanding of the listing or de-listing process, which, among other factors, had led to a low prosecution rate. In addition, porous borders were conducive to international criminality, and terrorists were often afforded the space and technology to undertake their activities undetected.
He went on to describe the regional response to the threat of transnational organized crime, briefly listing the related measures adopted by ECOWAS member States. In that vein, the establishment of GIABA in 2000 had been a strong demonstration of their commitment. Along with seeking to prevent and control money-laundering, terrorist proliferation and financing, its action group sought to promote the rule of law and help member States adopt counter-terrorism legislation in line with international standards. By 2008, all ECOWAS member countries had adopted legislation criminalizing money-laundering. On the financing of terrorism, a law drawn up by GIABA had been adopted by member States in 2007, and it provided concrete assistance in drafting legislation and legal training.
As for the way forward, he said that “achieving realistic peace and security in Africa […] would require strategic partnerships”. There was need for stronger political commitment and leadership in combating transnational organized crime, as well as an effective early warning system for the prevention of terrorism. Building capacity and supporting States in establishing the rule of law and good governance were also critical. He called on countries and donor agencies to provide the necessary financing for the implementation of Security Council resolutions. It was also crucial to ensure that developing countries had equal trading opportunities, which would ameliorate some of their economic difficulties. Finally, coordination and cooperation was needed, as “no country can effectively tackle the problem of terrorism alone”.
FAURE ESSOZIMNA GNASSINGBÉ, President of Togo, whose country holds the Council’s rotating presidency for May, said terrorism was a global phenomenon whose defeat required global governance. Indeed, its spectre haunted Africa, with the Sahel facing a multitude of security challenges, including the rise of radical Islamism; trafficking in drugs, humans and weapons; and organized crimes — among the most disturbing threats of our time. Terrorists in Somalia were extending into other countries, where limited development provided fertile ground for their pursuits. Tribal conflicts and porous borders only exacerbated the problem. Political, security and environmental factors underpin the scourge, worsened by corruption and underdevelopment.
He said terrorism was also active in fragile, post-conflict countries, where a lack of the rule of law allowed terrorist groups to develop with total impunity and crush the prospects for economic and social development. Criminal groups established themselves as regulatory authorities, discouraging foreign investment and fostering economic failure. Legal and illegal trade, as well as migration, tourism and security were at their mercy.
“If we don’t give African Governments the means to carry out an effective and sustainable counter-terrorism strategy, there is every reason to fear the creation of a ‘terrorist arc’ from Mauritania to Nigeria”, and extending to the Horn of Africa, marked by lawlessness for traffickers and links between the Sahel and European and Latin American groups. Terrorism in Africa extended beyond the continent. Organized crime was on rise, with the ports of West Africa and the Sahel becoming hubs for drug transit, linking suppliers in Latin America with European and Middle Eastern markets. The number of cocaine addicts in Africa had reached 1.5 million consumers, according to the International Narcotics Control Board.
He outlined variouspaths to stem narcotic and terrorist groups, saying that only a multifaceted response would repel them. The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy offered such a course. He also urged preventive work in the areas of development, education and health, as only personal fulfilment could compete with the bloody alternative of terrorism. Touching on the food threat, he said that, in recent years, the number of people affected by food insecurity had risen to 18 million people. In Mali, one of every five households faced severe malnutrition, according to United Nations and humanitarian agencies.
Given the links between terrorism and trafficking groups, he urged the adoption of a global approach, as those were two sides of the same reality. In Uganda, for example, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) could not be treated differently than organized crime. A better global strategy of a diplomatic, political and socioeconomic blueprint must be developed. “We must help establish better governance,” he insisted, including by showing the will to launch arrest warrants against those responsible. The arms trade must be controlled and transparent arms contracts must be confirmed by a competent African authority. There must also be better border control.
Moreover, closer coordination between Africa and its international partners was needed, he said, lauding the decisions taken at the African Union’s 17 March meeting on strengthening border security, exchanging intelligence and building national capacity. To carry out such activities, he urged partners to honour official development assistance (ODA) commitments, noting that between 2011 and 2012, assistance had dropped 4 per cent. The fight against poverty was most crucial in fighting terrorism. Poverty destroyed human virtues and the very basis of human solidarity. He urged finding new resources for ODA, including through a tax on international financial transactions.
The Council then adopted presidential statement S/PRST/2013/5.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg, said the debate was important, not just because terrorism was such a threat, but because that threat had grown markedly in Africa. The Mali crisis and its ramification illustrated the growing complexity of the challenges faced. The fight required mobilization of considerable security resources and development cooperation. The United Nations’ Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had enlarged the framework of the fight against terrorism and comprised measures to ensure respect for international law, particularly humanitarian and human rights law, as well as measures to reverse the conditions conducive to terrorism. The Security Council was sharpening the tools at its disposal, notably sanctions, through the 1267/1989 Committee. He welcomed extension of Al-Qaida sanctions to the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa in 2012 and to Ansar Eddine in 2013.
Supporting African countries was vital to combating terrorism, he said, pointing to Luxembourg’s own capacity-building efforts against financing of the scourge. That transnational threat in the Sahel required an improved coordinated international response between the United Nations, the African Union and subregional organizations. It was more urgent than ever to finalize and implement the integrated United Nations strategy for the Sahel, as it promised to provide the Security Council and stakeholders with a full spectrum of preventive tools. The civilian security dimension was of particular importance, and law enforcement agencies and justice institutions should be better equipped. It was equally vital to improve socio-economic development to dry up the sources of frustration and exclusion that fed terrorism and its recruitment. Luxembourg was cooperating with several countries in West Africa and had recently announced a new financial contribution of €500,000 to security-sector reform in Somalia.
SAAD-EDDINE EL OTHMANI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that today’s meeting was being held against the backdrop of a “delicate condition” in parts of the African continent. Recent developments there indicated that terrorist threats still constituted a menace to international peace and security and led to the suffering of millions of innocent people. In that regard, he highlighted the growing interlinkage among terrorist groups, secessionist movements, illegal networks engaged in human trafficking and piracy. Such networks allowed terrorists to acquire resources, and in some cases threatened the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Morocco had long been at the forefront of expressing deep concern at terrorist activities and threats, especially in the Sahel, the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa.
He said that the Security Council and regional responses had succeeded in dismantling a number of terrorist and criminal networks. Yet those efforts lacked harmony and coordination and remained insufficient, in particular at a time when those networks kept expanding and acquiring new technologies. The efforts of the United Nations were meaningful, especially in strengthening the capacity of States to face those dangers. Morocco looked forward to the adoption, implementation and success of the United Nations integrated strategy on the Sahel, he added.
Morocco had adopted a firm stand against terrorism, he said, highlighting adoption of a national strategy that conformed to United Nations standards, reflecting the values of coexistence, human rights and rule of law. It categorically rejected linking organized crime or terrorism with any religious or ethnic group. In that vein, Morocco renewed its backing for all initiatives designed to foster dialogue and understanding among civilizations and cultures. The appreciable success of the country’s counter-terrorism strategy relied on a comprehensive approach and preventive measures, as well as domestic initiatives to combat the socioeconomic conditions that might give rise to radicalization. Development in all its forms was central to preventing terrorism.
Morocco had joined the international forum against terrorism, he said, voicing its appreciation for the Rabat Declaration on best practices in criminal justice. For decades, Morocco had cooperated with other African States to share its experiences in combating terrorism and transnational crime, and paving the way for cooperation and dialogue. Among other efforts, it had helped to organize, in March, an international conference bringing Maghreb and Sahel States together in border monitoring. As Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, it backed efforts by United Nations organs to combat terrorism, with a view towards complementarity.
SUSAN RICE (United States) recalled that in the Sahel, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb were active, while in Nigeria, Boko Haram and other groups were taking advantage of poor economic conditions to challenge State authority. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab was launching ferocious attacks against the Government, seeking to derail the country’s transition, and attacks in Arusha confirmed that such acts were not confined to conflict zones. The fight against terrorism had made progress, with work in Somalia and Mali demonstrating the ability of regional and international cooperation to weaken terrorist groups. In those cases, African nations, with international support, had confronted the terrorist threat. In Mali, the Council had imposed sanctions against the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, and authorized two missions to stabilize the country. In Somalia, African Union peacekeepers had helped the country reclaim itself from Al-Shabaab.
Yet, she continued, Al-Qaida and other groups remained dangerous, diffuse and entrepreneurial, exploiting porous borders, economic stresses and a diminished focus on counter-terrorism. Terrorists in Africa funded their activities through trafficking in weapons, drugs and humans, as well as through kidnapping for ransom. “The international community cannot turn a blind eye to this crime and must stop paying ransoms,” she stressed, adding that the increased use of improvised explosive devices warranted the Council’s increased attention. Such complex threats required a multidimensional response, and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy recognized as much.
For its part, the United States had intensified capacity-building assistance to its African partners, she said, through a Trans-Sahara programme to tighten border security, promote economic development, prevent attacks and prosecute perpetrators. The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum provided good-practices memorandums on criminal justice. But such guides were only as useful as the political will and capacity to implement them. Building State capacity to fight terrorism was indispensable, and she discouraged “repressive” approaches in that regard. A broad effort to create free and tolerant societies required fighting poverty and corruption; expanding trade and investment; focusing on conflict prevention and resolution; improving Government delivery of services; and ensuring people could hold their Governments to account.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda), condemning the terrorist attack in Turkey last weekend, said that his country concurred with the presidential statement adopted today. His country fully shared concerns raised about peace and security in Africa. Countries on the continent would not be able to sustainably fight trans-border crime and terrorism without a comprehensive approach, which addressed terrorism’s underlying causes. Indeed, terrorism could be both the cause and effect of conflicts. In fact, most of the underlying causes of conflict recently considered by the Council were also reasons for terrorism, especially the artificial division of borders, which were left over from colonialism, interference by foreign countries, poor governance, poverty, famine, and discrimination and exclusion based on race, ethnicity or origin.
He said that conflict in Africa was a breeding ground of terrorism, which could only survive in chaos. Further, terrorist acts against religious, ethnic or racial communities were a source of exasperation which could lead to conflict. There could be no excuses for terrorism. Rwanda renewed its support of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as for the “1373” Committee and the other United Nations counter-terrorism bodies. Cooperation with regional and subregional bodies was also crucial. Rwanda was eagerly awaiting the integrated strategy for the Sahel. It reiterated its condemnation of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria, among other terrorist organizations.
Terrorism must not be associated with any nationality or ethnicity, he urged, adding that its definition must not be limited to the use of explosives, but should also extend to armed groups that committed massive abductions or used rape as a weapon of war. The Group for the Libertarian of Rwanda — which had changed its name to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) 12 years ago — had been designated a terrorist group, and his country called on Governments and the international community to combat it.
KIM KYOU-HYUN, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, agreed that, despite concerted efforts by the international community over the past decade, terrorism remained a serious threat to peace and security in the Maghreb and the Sahel. “If unchecked, the formation of the so-called ‘Arc of Instability’ from Mali to Somalia may soon become irreversible, and transform the entire African continent into a breeding ground for extremists”, as well as a launch pad for larger-scale terrorist attacks around the world, he warned. The natural starting point was to tackle socioeconomic and environmental conditions, with a focus on youth and education. His country supported the Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative. “Human rights and the rule of law should be at the heart of the global efforts to address the issue of terrorism,” he added.
He said that defending porous borders to deter the illicit flow of weapons in Africa was also vital, as was the prevention and interdiction of terrorist financing. In collaborating with the Financial Action Task Force, the role of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa was crucial in fostering closer military and intelligence cooperation among the countries in that region. Those efforts required the full ownership of the countries concerned to establish good governance and promote economic reforms, while designing and implementing a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.
The Republic of Korea had been actively participating in global efforts to prevent and combat terrorism in Africa, and it was playing an active role in addressing its origins, he said. For one, it sought the socioeconomic development of its African partners through a variety of programmes, and in that vein, the country had formulated an Action Plan for the Korea-Africa Forum for 2013-2015, which included a range of assistance, including for human development.
Preventing weapons of mass destruction terrorism was another important task, he said, adding that as Chair of the Security Council’s 1540 Committee, the Republic of Korea would seek ways to mobilize relevant international assistance for African States within the Committee’s mandate. It would also work with other committees, namely the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee, to develop assistance packages to bolster African efforts. Adapting to the terrorist threat in the digital age was essential, and as the host of the 2013 Seoul Conference on Cyberspace, to be held in October, his country would redouble its efforts to address the new trend of exploiting information technology to incite, recruit and finance terrorist activities and spread extremism.
EDUARDO ZUAIN, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, saying the framework for response must respect international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as the United Nations Charter. Combating the scourge required comprehensive multilateral efforts, including a commitment at the national level to strengthen legislation. At the international level, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy offered a comprehensive approach. In Africa, terrorism endangered efforts to promote economic and social development, and thus resources were required.
In the Sahel, he said, development required stability, while stability required a comprehensive approach to the region. Coordinated regional efforts were needed to fight illicit drug and small arms trafficking. On that front, the Arms Trade Treaty could help prevent the diversion of weapons to terrorist groups. International cooperation was needed, as was an equitable global economic system. He supported steps taken by African countries to combat terrorism, and reaffirmed the need to cooperate with the African Union.
More broadly, he said peacekeeping operations were not an appropriate tool to fight terrorism, as that would contravene the principles of consent of parties, impartiality and the use of force for self-defence. It could turn the United Nations into a participant in conflict. Inclusion of a peacemaking dimension required discussion by all Member States. Africa had made progress in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as well as in promoting and protecting human rights. Solidarity and cooperation in full respect for State sovereignty were still the best tools for fighting the terrorist scourge.
EVGENY ZAGAYNOV ( Russian Federation) said that, despite many efforts to the contrary, terrorism remained one of the most serious threats of international peace and security, and Africa was on the “cutting edge” of the war against that plague. The Russian Federation had initiated Security Council resolution 2017 (2011), aimed at ending flows of Libyan weapons — including man-portable air defence systems, or MANPADS, to terrorists. West Africa had become one of the grounds for smuggling drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, into Europe, and there had been recent attempts by extremists to capture positions of Government authority. In that connection, he welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 2100 (2013) on using common approaches in Mali. However, he regretted that the Council had not adopted a unified position regarding terrorist threats in Syria.
African countries, he said, were more actively adopting approaches to combat terrorism. Nevertheless, in the context of current conditions, strengthening the capabilities of those countries was essential. In particular, a focus was needed on border and airport security and on training law enforcement officers, among other things. The Russian Federation was working multilaterally and bilaterally in those regards, and believed that more attention should be paid to “de-radicalization” of populations, especially youth. It was also vital to establish an environment that was “unaccepting” of violence, as “we must nip in the bud” attempts to involve diaspora communities in the support of terrorism.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan), welcoming today’s presidential statement, said that terrorism was a threat to peace and security, as well as to the sovereignty and territorial integrity and development of all States. No country was immune from that scourge, and his was an active contributor to combating it. A number of African subregions suffered from perennial challenges, such as porous borders, conflict, and socioeconomic problems. While African States had made considerable progress in addressing those root causes, and remarkable efforts had been demonstrated by the African Union to collectively promote peace and security, the goal was not yet achieved, highlighting the need for a comprehensive and integrated international, regional and national response.
In particular, he noted that the situation in Mali posed a major threat to the region and beyond. Azerbaijan supported efforts at dismantling terrorist and criminal networks there and restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also supported combating Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be implemented in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions. It was also critical that States worked towards developing strategies to combat terrorist groups. Azerbaijan recognized that significant efforts were being made by the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations to quash terrorist and transnational criminal networks, and it was ready to explore further avenues for its participation.
MICHAEL TATHAM ( United Kingdom) said terrorism in Africa today reflected the evolution of a threat that was more fragmented and geographically diverse than in the past. The international community must work with African countries to address it as a shared challenge, which required a comprehensive approach that involved political, economic and humanitarian efforts, as well as operational interventions. It was important that all parts of the United Nations system countered the challenges while avoiding duplication. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Task Force were key mechanisms in that regard, while global efforts were needed to counter the radicalization of the vulnerable and to support inclusive governance structures. “It can be done but it will require a tough, intelligent and patient approach,” he said.
Terrorist groups thrived in unstable conditions marked by a failure to address long-standing political or social grievances, he said, urging a comprehensive approach to reduce poverty and promote economic progress, as well as efforts to understand what motivated people to join terrorist groups. International action was required to address the payment of ransoms for kidnapping, which supported terrorism. Last week, the United Kingdom had hosted a conference on Somalia, which had made clear that fighting terrorism alone could not address its root causes. All tools must be deployed, including diplomatic networks, aid and trade, political relations and security cooperation. Gains made in Somalia offered an approach which could be drawn upon to rebuild States and address the drivers of terrorism.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said Africa risked becoming “the epicentre of terrorism”. Terrorist groups were hampering United Nations-African Union and peacekeeping missions. The terrorist threat in Africa conflated political, religious and ideological extremism with organized crime, while historical and cultural differences obstructed efforts to fight the scourge. Many African countries and regions risked becoming more destabilized and disintegrated. The continent could become a ground for terrorist recruitment, training and funding. While the causes of terrorism in Africa varied, common factors included poverty, unresolved disputes, marginalization and a lack of economic options.
He said that the strategy to address terrorism in Africa should focus building the capacity of criminal justice systems at all levels. Regional and subregional cooperation must be strengthened, while the United Nations and the African Union should develop an early warning mechanism as a preventive measure. Creating educational and economic opportunities, especially for young people, should be part of a broader international agenda for involvement. Further, dialogue with those willing to renounce violence and cut ties with terrorist groups must remain on the table as a way to promote reconciliation. Emphasis also must be placed on countering the financing of terrorism, which included ransoms, illicit drug trafficking and piracy.
LI BAODONG ( China) stressed that “terrorism is the common enemy of mankind”. The situation in that regard was still grim, with huge civilian causalities. Terrorist organizations were increasingly recruiting young people, and had developed large networks to carry out their activities. Furthermore, they took advantage of political turmoil in Africa, where ethnic and religious conflicts were interwoven with terrorist activities. “The fight against terrorism in African can in no way be fought by African countries alone,” he said, calling on the international community to adopt rapid, effective, coordinated and integrated policies to address the root causes and eradicate the factors that fuelled it. The process should be African-led. The international community should avoid linking terrorism with a particular region or ethnicity, and “double standards should be avoided”.
Indeed, he said, actions to combat terrorism should be objective and fair, and should aim to resolve African issues in an “African way”. States should also pay attention to the economic and social development of the continent, honour their commitments and provide assistance without attaching political conditions. He urged the international community, in particular developed countries, to help build capacity in African countries, to support the efforts of regional and subregional organizations and to share best practices. The United Nations should strengthen coordination and cooperation with relevant actors and work through the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the Executive Directorate to support Africa. China, which had also been a victim of terrorism, would support African countries to jointly face the terrorist threat.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France), associating with the statement to be issued by the European Union, said that terrorism was at the core of the Security Council’s actions. France had made that fight in Africa a top priority. The recent engagement of French and African forces in Mali had reduced the threat to that country, he said, welcoming African forces — including a large Togolese contingent — which had deployed swiftly. Indeed, in January, the country could have become a stage for major terrorist activities. That was why France, at the request of Malian authorities, had intervened alongside African forces. The territorial integrity of the country had been restored and terrorist forces thwarted.
Today, he said, Mali could continue its political process, namely through the holding of elections to take place shortly. Indeed, “politics is also a weapon”, he added. Preventing and combating the many forms and expressions of terrorism was a common international responsibility. African regional organizations also could provide solutions, he said, pointing out that the African Union had taken up the initiative against Al-Shabaab in Somalia and had worked to defeat terrorism in Mali. In addition, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa and other organizations had been formed to combat the financing of terrorism. For its part, the United Nations had set up a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as sanctions committees, which reminded terrorists on a daily basis that “we are not lowering our guard”, he warned.
JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ ( Guatemala) said that the familiar reasons that youths turned to terrorism were often “magnified by groups that systematically promote radical and violent causes”. He pointed to interconnections between terrorism and transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and piracy and addressed the issue of poor enforcement of borders, calling for better regulation to guarantee peace and stability. Countries needed to focus on and improve their capacities to overcome the conditions that fed terrorism. Effective tools like the sanctions regimes contained in Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) showed it was necessary to combat terrorism through means other than military force. All efforts to tackle the phenomenon should align with international law, especially international human rights and humanitarian law.
Many peacekeeping operations had been established in situations where terrorist groups were present, he said, pointing to both Somalia and Mali. Where militant extremists threatened peace, peacekeepers needed to protect civilians, but fighting terrorism also had the potential to compromise the guiding principles of peacekeeping operations, such as impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence. International and interregional cooperation were fundamental to global efforts to eradicate international terrorism, with every State sharing the collective responsibility to fight the problem, both within their own jurisdictions and through a global concerted response.
GARY FRANCIS QUINLAN ( Australia) said “there is no doubt that Africa is the new theatre in the fight against terrorism”. There had been stark reminders in the last week alone: suicide attacks targeting Malian and Nigerian soldiers in towns in northern Mali; coordinated attacked by alleged Boko Haram militants in north-eastern Nigeria; and a suicide car bombing by Al-Shabaab against a convoy carrying a Qatari delegation in Mogadishu, Somalia. The terrorist threat in Africa posed new and complex challenges, as those groups were showing greater skill at forming alliances and manipulating grievances or insurgencies, and taking advantage of “ungoverned spaces”. Terrorist groups continued to develop their sources of financing, arms and recruits, and they were well connected with trafficking in people, drugs and arms across the continent. That was one reason why terrorist groups in Mali had been able to access rifles and rockets from Libya 2,500 kilometres away. Plus, there had been a rapid growth in kidnapping for ransom and hostage-taking as financing and negotiating strategies for terrorist groups.
He said that terrorist groups were increasingly working together, across borders, regions and even continents. In parts of Africa, they were exploiting vulnerabilities, such as institutions with limited capacities, porous borders, poverty and unemployment. Their activities only exacerbated those conditions. That vicious cycle needed to be broken by improving capacity, especially in law enforcement. Equal efforts were needed to prevent terrorism and extremism from emerging, arming and recruiting. Key prevention strategies included building resilience in communities, creating opportunities for economic and social advancement, and strengthening governance, democracy, the rule of law and security-sector institutions. It was also important to establish better coordination, particularly through the African Union and at the international level. The Council’s sanctions regime held great potential for assisting African States in turning the tide against Al-Qaida and its affiliates there. It was important to mainstream the analysis of terrorism, its causes and ways to address it into the United Nations peace and security agenda, including into its mandates.
TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said that, while commendable progress had been made to combat terrorism in Africa, the threat was complex, as had been seen in the Sahel region, where human, drug and arms trafficking, kidnap-for-ransom, piracy, illicit arms proliferation and money-laundering were closely intertwined. In addition, “narco-terrorism” had given rise to new forms of “mercenarism” in the continent; those fighters joined, not necessarily for ideological reasons, but for financial gain. The situation in Mali had clearly shown devastating effects of such threats.
He said that success in the war against terrorism required a firm, focused, coordinated and collective international effort, which tackled its root causes and included efforts to prevent terrorists from recruiting and carrying out their acts. Considerable resources and the convergence of like-minded specialized institutions were needed. To better systematize that continental effort, the African Union Commission had been urging States and Regional Economic Communities to urgently adopt comprehensive regional counter-terrorism strategies and coordinated implementation mechanisms, by domesticating the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other instruments.
He went on to say that the Commission had prioritized capacity-building, improvement of the counter-terrorism legal framework and promotion of better institutional interaction, as well as the development of early warning capacity that allowed for timely and appropriate intervention. In that context, he called for the development of regional training for law enforcement agencies, security and judicial services, translators and scientific and technical investigation experts to counter terrorism and transnational organized crime. Financial, logistical and technical support was also needed to maintain law enforcement. Committed support from Africa’s partners was also urgent, especially for the establishment of national coordinating structures to counter terrorism and organized crime, if the region was to overcome such challenges.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States, said Africa had become both a base and a favourite target of international terrorists, including Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC) was also active in the Sahel and was difficult to monitor. Attacks and border incidents that destabilized the region had convinced neighbouring countries to engage in strategic cooperation, especially as northern Mali had become a sanctuary for terrorists who had committed the worst human rights violations. A comprehensive and determined response was needed and ECOWAS welcomed the intervention of French troops in Mali.
He went on to say that African countries were committed to counter terrorism and establish measures to build peace and security by cooperating to combat trans-boundary organized crime, money-laundering and cybercrime. ECOWAS condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Its holistic approach contained a full array of measures, including a strategic orientation to confine and eliminate the terrorist threat. To that end, ECOWAS would establish a coordinating unit, issue arrest warrants and create a blacklist of terrorists, with a view to sharing information and coordinating actions. In such work, he called for technical assistance institutions, development partners and others to coordinate their activities with ECOWAS to vanquish the threat.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, said that the increasingly international nature of the terrorist threat meant that no country was spared. While efforts to counter and prevent terrorism started at the national level, only cooperation would have a chance to sustain success. At the global level, the European Union supported the United Nations’ crucial role. In that regard, he enumerated five conditions required for success. First, efforts to combat terrorism must be underpinned by efforts to stop vulnerable individuals from being drawn into it. In that regard, he welcomed steps taken by the African Union on the prevention and combating of terrorism, as well as the appointment of a special representative.
Second, he said, efforts needed to address, not just the symptoms of terrorism, but its root causes. Third, attention should be paid to radicalization, and those efforts should be accompanied by development support. Fourth, it was impossible to separate counter-terrorism efforts from support for good governance. Finally, the European experience showed the paramount importance of keeping the fight against terrorism solidly within the rule of law. The European Union was firmly committed to enhancing the implementation of its Sahel strategy. In 2012, the bloc had launched EUCAP Sahel (European Union’s External Action Service), based in Niger. The crisis in Mali had accelerated its involvement in the region, including through a new mission to train officers there. He also pointed to an international Mali donors’ conference, which the presidents of the European Commission, France and Mali were hosting in Brussels this week.
He said that the other focal point of the European Union’s counter-terrorism support in Africa was Somalia. The European Union had stepped up its involvement in that country since 2011, he said, referring to the European Union Training Mission Somalia (EUTM Somalia) and to financial support provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The bloc had also recently adopted its counter-terrorism Action Plan for the Horn of Africa. Finally, further attention and resources should be given to examining the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime. The lead for those efforts lay clearly with African countries and regional and subregional organizations, he added.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), speaking also in his capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), said that that both IGAD and the African Union had been at the forefront of the fight against international terrorism. Both organizations had also worked within the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as with the Secretariat’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. The African Union/Organization of African Unity had been actively engaged in the fight since the 1990s, he said, briefly outlining the history of that involvement. However, no event had shown Africa’s need to build its capacity against terrorism more than the situation in Mali, which had also demonstrated that the building of robust State institutions was absolutely indispensible for that fight to be effective.
He said it was obvious that the final victory against extremism and terror could be achieved only when its root causes were effectively addressed. Indeed, “it is impossible to ensure acceptable levels of peace and security in the face of abject poverty and deprivation”. Without genuine, effective international cooperation, there was little chance of success. However, drawing distinctions among groups that resorted to terror, based on where the act was committed, was a recipe for defeating the spirit and determination of such cooperation. “In other words, as long as there is a double standard in the fight against terrorism”, there would be little hope of defeating it. In that regard, “we have yet to cover a lot of ground” before it could be said that the international community had laid the basis for effective cooperation against terrorism.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan) welcomed the unanimity on enforcing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as efforts by the working group to guarantee its implementation. Terrorism had no religion, colour or sex. Events in Africa in recent months had shown that terrorism was on the rise and addressing its root causes offered a way to address that pernicious phenomenon. At the national level, Sudan had ratified all international conventions to counter terrorism and was party to both African and regional conventions, also taking part in such efforts as those of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was among the most important legal frameworks to guide national efforts and Sudan’s 2001 anti-terrorism law conformed with its principles, as did its 2010 money-laundering law. Efforts were under way to adopt laws on atomic energy, cybercrime and chemical substances, also in line with the Global Strategy.
In that context, he touched on Sudan’s work with the United Nations, in the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate framework, noting that Sudan had hosted a conference to combat terrorism and money-laundering last month. Urging support for the African Union through capacity-building, as well as operational and logistical support, he expressed hope that Mali would emerge from its crisis stronger and more immune to the terrorist threat. Africa’s national resources made it a target for terrorist activities and rebel movements. In Sudan, terrorist acts had been carried out by the Revolutionary Front in North Kordofan, and he called on the Council to condemn those crimes. He also called for intensified efforts to arrive at a clear definition of terrorism.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said the legal and institutional framework to combat terrorism in Africa had been put in place under the auspices of the African Union. Algeria was among the countries to play a “precursor” role in that work, with the July 1999 adoption in Algiers of the African Union Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism. The Centre of Studies and Research on Terrorism, headquartered in Algiers, had helped to prepare an African draft model law to combat terrorism. It had been an important partner of the United Nations in strengthening African countries’ national capacities. Algeria had spared no effort to raise awareness about the dangers of hostage taking and the payment of ransoms for hostage release.
Indeed, he said Algeria was fully committed to regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organized crime in the Sahel region. The cooperation framework established by the “countries of the field” offered a forum for close and regular political consultations. The last meeting of neighbouring countries, held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 17 March, enhanced the exchange of information on matters related to the political, financial and logistical assistance to Mali, as well as on border control. He was satisfied that the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), under resolution 2085 (2012), had reduced the terrorist threat. He highlighted the important role of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities in combating terrorism in Africa, noting that Algeria’s cooperation had led to the listing of the Movement of Unity and Jihad in West Africa.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) said that Africa, due to its many vulnerabilities, had become a favourite target for terrorists. The crisis in Mali was likely to repeat itself due to the surfeit of “dirty money” and other factors which made the continent more fragile. Pointing to the increasing collusion between extremism and transnational organized crime, he stressed that terrorism — the negation of the fundamental values of the free world — must be countered wherever it reared its head. Benin reiterated its support for operations launched by France and supported by Chad, which had made it possible to save Mali, noting that the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) would now facilitate assistance to the country.
He said that interregional compartmentalization, with regard to both markets and security, should be eliminated, in order to conduct an integrated fight against the threats of terrorism and transnational organized crime. There should also be debt forgiveness, increased access to markets and other actions aimed at promoting the sustainable development of peace and security in Africa. The global counter-terrorism machinery was only as strong as its weakest link; building national capacities, therefore, was vital. Resolutions 1624 (2005) on terrorism and 1625 (2005) on conflict prevention, particularly in Africa, were part of a “logic of complementarity” in the fight against terrorism, he said, calling additionally for military measures, technical assistance and efforts aimed at integrating sustainable development.
“No cause whatsoever justifies terrorism,” said TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania). Terrorism was a threat to the values and humanity shared by all, as well as to the development and prosperity of countries and peoples. The activities of such groups as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Ansar Eddine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa were an “affront to anything African”, he continued. In 1998, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania had suffered coordinated terrorist attacks, and, a few years later, New York was attacked in what was now known as the “9/11” tragedy. He described a number of national, subregional, regional and international instruments adopted in the years that followed.
There were three critical aspects in the fight against terrorism, he said. First, efforts to address terrorism in Africa must address poverty, whose spread across the continent offered breeding grounds for the spectre of terrorism. Other potential indirect factors included rapid population growth, especially burgeoning male youth unemployment. Second, efforts to combat terrorism must go hand in hand with building strong partnerships at the national, regional and local levels. Third, capacity-building must be central to all common endeavours. His Government had put in place several mechanisms for combating terrorism, including the enactment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002 and the Anti-Money Laundering Action of 2006. Regrettably, only recently, another terrorist attack was suffered in Arusha, where three people had been killed and more than 40 injured.
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