Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: concern over proliferation in Africa of separatist movements such as the Polisario, and their collusion with terrorism

The Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which convened in Marrakech on Wednesday, issued a strong-worded final statement expressing concern over the proliferation of separatist movements in Africa, such as the Algeria-backed Polisario, and sounding the alarm bell on the connivance between these separatist movements and terrorist groups in the continent (AQIM, Boko Haram, Al Shabab etc.)

These groups both take advantage of state vulnerabilities in Africa, the statement pointed out, reaffirming the member countries’ shared determination to continue the fight against ISIS.

The participants noted with concern the proliferation of non-state actors, including separatist movements that generate destabilization and further vulnerability of African states and that ultimately favor Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist and violent extremist organizations, said the final statement

Under the auspices of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS, the Africa Focus Group will bolster the civilian-led counterterrorism capabilities of African members of the Coalition, they said, stressing the need for the Africa Focus Group to foster synergies with other existing international, sub-regional and regional counterterrorism efforts and initiatives on the African continent.

The participants from over 80 countries and international organizations recalled that the Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS will continue to be a civilian-driven effort by, with, and through the African members, in line with the principles of national ownership, and in accord with the specific needs of African member states.

They also noted the nexus between separatist and terrorist movements acting in collusion, exploiting existing vulnerabilities in a way that multiplies their destabilizing impact.

In this sense, the participants emphasized the need to address the evolving threat of Daesh, especially in Africa, by strengthening the counter-terrorism capabilities of African members and taking into account the challenges and threats posed by the proliferation of non-state actors, including separatist groups, as a destabilizing factor and vulnerability in the region.

They also stressed the importance of addressing underlying causes to insecurity in Africa, while reiterating that any lasting solution to halting the spread of Daesh/ISIS on the continent will rely primarily on national authorities, as well as sub-regional and regional efforts and initiatives that acknowledge and address the political and economic drivers of conflict.

The Ministers emphasized the need to address the global Daesh/ISIS threat through holistic and comprehensive coordination of efforts, which are a hallmark of the oalition. Such efforts include the initiatives forwarded by the Coalition Working Groups, including Communications, Counter ISIS Finance, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, and Stabilization, the statement said.

They also welcomed the first Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS meeting to be convened in Africa

The Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS was co-hosted by the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

The event is a turning point in the commitment and international coordination in the fight against ISIS, with a particular focus on the African continent and the evolving terrorist threat in the Middle East and other regions.

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