The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of Morocco, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Africa Focus Group
Upon invitation of the Republic of Benin, the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Africa Focus Group, co-chaired by Italy, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, met on November 15 in Cotonou, Benin.
The Africa Focus Group serves as a collaborative mechanism to coordinate civilian-focused counterterrorism assistance in order to enhance the counterterrorism capacity of African members of the Defeat-Daesh/ISIS Coalition.
In Cotonou, 28 Coalition members and observers participated in an Africa Focus Group meeting that focused on regional security and counterterrorism challenges from ISIS affiliates in the Coastal West Africa region.
The Coalition recognized that ISIS affiliates present a persistent threat to the people of West Africa.
The D-ISIS Coalition Africa Focus Group agenda included coordination with other multilateral initiatives and heard from Coalition partners who are engaged with or leading the Accra Initiative, the G-5, the Coalition for the Sahel, and the Aqaba Process. Coalition observer UNOCT also briefed on the planned Africa summit in the spring of 2024 that should complement international efforts to counter ISIS affiliates in Africa.
The Africa Focus Group recognizes there are many contributing factors to the current security challenges in the region. To have the most impact, the focus group is concentrating efforts on the four pillars of its action plan:
Strengthening and enhancing border security, biometric collection, and battlefield evidence capabilities;
Countering ISIS propaganda, recruitment efforts, and building community resilience;
Improving Coalition member capabilities to reduce ISIS’s use of illicit finance; and
Countering malign influences that diminish CT efforts.
Participants in the Cotonou meeting reaffirmed both the importance of ongoing frank and open exchanges and that Africa Focus Group members would continue to share and develop best practices to build partner capacity and assist those countries seeking assistance in countering terrorism.
Finally, the Africa Focus Group Co-Chairs underscored that the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS remains committed to confronting and defeating Daesh/ISIS in West Africa and elsewhere in the world, wherever it operates.
Explanation of Vote Following the Adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution Extending the Mandate of ATMIS
Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
November 15, 2023
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States is pleased to vote in favor to extend the ATMIS and UNSOS mandate during this important time in Somalia. We appreciate the constructive efforts of our UK colleagues to lead the Security Council in agreeing to this resolution.
We accept the necessity of delaying the second ATMIS troop reduction from September 30 to December 31, 2023, but we are concerned that slow progress in meeting mandate objectives over the past year will hamper completing the transition by the end of 2024. FGS and ATMIS coordination are vital and ATMIS troop reductions must be based on operational necessity, taking into account changes to the security situation, and strategic planning by the FGS and AU.
As a result of today’s adoption of the resolution, ATMIS will continue reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab and continue supporting the development of an integrated Somali security force capable of assuming progressively greater security responsibility.
We recognize and honor the sacrifices by ATMIS and Somali security forces in the pursuit of peace and security in Somalia.
We applaud the increased focus by the Somali federal government on the fight against al-Shabaab led by the Somali people, the Somali federal member states, and the Somali federal government. Continued progress toward a Somalia-led security sector as it relates to the transition from ATMIS is needed.
We observe that on hard-won security gains and some set-backs have highlighted the urgency of ensuring current and future operations are based on clear objectives, timelines, and resource requirements.
We look forward to the Somali-led security conference on December 12th in New York. This presents an important opportunity to review plans for the ATMIS transition, address the al-Shaabab threat, and identify Somalia’s specific security requirements beyond 2024.
We urge the international community to continue to work with Somalia to support the development of a truly integrated Somali security sector – the key element of a sustainable transition of security responsibilities envisioned by this resolution.
Thank you, Mr. President.