Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita has warned against the serious threats posed to the sovereignty and stability of states around the world by the collusion between terrorist and separatist groups.
In an address Wednesday in Marrakesh at the opening of the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Mr. Bourita said terrorism and separatism are “two sides of the same coin”, noting that there is a growing number of separatists who joined terrorist groups.
“Those who finance, shelter, support and weaponize separatism, are actually contributing to the expansion of terrorism and undermine regional peace and security”, said Mr. Bourita.
In this respect, he urged for more efforts to help African states deal with the scourge of terrorism through financing and capacity building.
Bourita who underscored Morocco’s involvement in backing African countries, as part of the Global coalition against ISIS, said Rabat advocates multilateralism and is ready to share its experience in the fight against terrorism.
This aid to Africa is all the more important as the continent has become the main target, suffering 41% of ISIS attacks worldwide.
In 2021, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 48% of global terrorism deaths – with 3.461 casualties, bringing the death toll to 30.000 people during the last 15 years, the minister said.
The economic cost of terrorism has surged to 171 billion dollars, that could ideally have been invested in the continent’s development.
The terrorist threat in Africa has now reached the Atlantic coasts and its shipping routes. Links between terrorism and piracy appeared in the Gulf of Guinea, as seen in the Horn of Africa, he said, adding that terrorist groups are also seeking control of natural resources.
During the meeting, the United States has also called for more financial support for Middle East and Africa to confront the lurking ISIS threat.
ISIS continues to pose a threat in Iraq and Syria despite being considerably weakened in recent years, said US Under Secretary Victoria Jane Nuland.
“This year, we are seeking to raise $700 million for critical stabilization activities in communities liberated from ISIS’ control in Iraq and Syria, $350 million for Iraq and $350 million for Syria,” Nuland said at the opening of the Ministerial Meeting.
Over the past year alone, the United States has provided more than $45 million in stabilization assistance for 3 northeast Syria and over $60 million for Iraq, she said. “We urge other donors to also increase their support,” she added.
Although ISIS is retreating in the Middle East, it has been striking elsewhere especially in Africa and central Asia, said the US official.
“We need to remain vigilant to the continued threat it poses elsewhere in the world, especially here on the African continent,” she said.
From the Sahel, where the number of terrorist incidents grew by 43% from 2018 to 2021, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique, there were nearly 500 ISIS terrorist incidents in 2021 resulting in the deaths of more than 2,900 people throughout Africa, she said.
To help African states strengthen capacities to confront the terrorist threat, the US will spend over $119 million in new assistance in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the capabilities of civilian law enforcement and the judiciary to disrupt, apprehend, prosecute, and convict terrorists across the continent.
The meeting, Co-hosted by Morocco and the U.S. is attended by representatives of over 80 countries and several organizations, including the Arab League, NATO and Interpol.
The meeting is looking into “ways to sustain pressure on ISIS remnants globally” and counter the threat of Daesh in Africa where the jihadists are relocating after suffering major defeats and losses in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Morocco’s hosting of the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS/Daesh shows the Kingdom’s firm commitment to counterterrorism, and its role in promoting regional security and stability.
Morocco, as the host country of this meeting, and as co-chair of the “Africa Focus Group” set up by the Coalition few months ago, confirms its leading role at the regional and international levels in the fight against terrorism and support for peace, security and stability in Africa.
It is also a strong testimony that the Coalition sees Morocco as a credible partner and provider of regional peace and security, which has notably co-chaired the Global Counterterrorism Forum for three consecutive terms, which hosts the United Nations Office for Counterterrorism and Training in Africa and which was the first African country to have organized, in June 2018, the meeting of the Political Directors of the Global Coalition against Daesh, dedicated to the terrorist threat in Africa.
The Global Coalition to defeat ISIS was established in September 2014, in order to fight the terrorist group of Daesh according to a multidisciplinary, inclusive and holistic approach between countries and regional institutions that want to curb the expansionist aspirations of the terrorist group and dismantle its networks.
The Coalition, composed of 84 states and international partner organizations from different regions of the world, remains united and resolved in its determination to achieve the enduring defeat of Daesh wherever it operates, and to bringing those responsible for its terror acts to justice.