Africa: Presidents Call for Collective Action Against Terrorism

Maputo — The Presidents of Ghana, Gabon and Switzerland on Tuesday called for greater international cooperation in the fight against terrorist groups, and warned that members of these groups are making use of poverty-stricken African states.

In New York, at a special high level panel of the United Nations Security Council on terrorism, chaired by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, the Ghanian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, stressed the urgency of finding a collective response to the evils of terrorism.

"An alliance is necessary at all levels, from the local and regional to the global, with the support of the United Nations', he said. "The fight against terrorism not only requires regional cooperation, but also the union of all countries. The network of terrorism and violent extremism needs a robust and collective response'.

In particular, Akufo-Addo noted that, in the Sahel, groups affiliated to the self-styled "Islamic State' are increasing their presence, while in Somalia Al-Shabaab is under pressure, but is far from defeated. He also mentioned the situation in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, and in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which is affiliated to Islamic State, are continuing to destabilise the population.

In the search for solutions, the Vice President of Gabon, Rose Raponda, called for cutting of the sources of funding for terrorist groups, and urged the United Nations to support African Union operations.

Raponda added that governments are under growing pressure from their publics due to insecurity, and that the war against terrorism is a challenge for states with limited resources.

"We must end the networks that finance terrorism, through the sophistication and consolidation of materials of monetary information, and a ruthless fight against illicit platforms of exploiting natural resources', she said. "It is urgent that we commit efforts to this struggle, and strengthen initiatives to finance support for peace, particularly on the African continent'.

Alain Berset, the President of the Swiss Confederation, also warned of the threat posed by terrorism and its "constant mutations'.

He called for full respect for international humanitarian law, for human rights law, and for the rights of refugees.

"Terrorism and violent extemism find fertile ground to spread in the current conflics and in all kinds of instability', Berset said. "It is too easy for the terrorist groups to recruit members, to spread the discourse of hatred, and to incite violence'.

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