Morocco stressed, on July 20 in Addis Ababa, before the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), the importance of developing a coherent and viable regional response to counter terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel region.
Intervening during a meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in the Sahel, the Moroccan delegation reaffirmed that “a coherent and viable regional response is needed to counter terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel,” stressing the importance of “leveraging the complementary role of regional mechanisms such as the Accra Initiative, the Nouakchott Process, and the Africa Reflection Group.”
In a similar context, Morocco called on the African Union (AU) Commission, AU member states, and the international community to support all countries in transition in their efforts to restore peace and stability.
The Moroccan delegation also underlined the impetus to adopt comprehensive, holistic, integrated, and multidimensional approaches aimed at consolidating peace, strengthening security, and promoting prosperous and sustainable development to face the multifaceted challenges facing the Sahel region.
In this regard, the Moroccan delegation warned that the security crisis in the Sahel is exacerbating a serious humanitarian crisis, pointing out that almost all Sahelian countries were affected by climate change, namely drought, water stress, land degradation, and issues relating to access to water and food, which resulted in health and migration problems.
Morocco’s delegation noted that the Sahel region is a common responsibility and that everyone is aware that security threats can be dealt with at the expense of the interests of the region’s countries, stressing that the solution to the issues in this region must necessarily lie with the region’s governments.
The Moroccan delegation also recalled that the Kingdom was among the pioneering countries to raise the attention of neighboring countries and the international community to the growing threat of criminal activity in the Sahel-Saharan region by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist groups and drug trafficking networks.
In a similar context, the Moroccan delegation emphasized that Morocco, thanks to its expertise in this field, has developed in-depth knowledge of the situation in the region and established regional and international cooperative relations in its role as a credible player and interlocutor for the international community in countering terrorism and transnational organized crime.
The delegation also stated that religious radicalization is the main driving force behind worrying threats in the Sahel region, noting that an analysis of the terrorist activity of extremist groups active in the Sahel reveals the links between armed separatist groups and extremist groups operating in the Sahel region.
In this regard, Morocco praised the considerable efforts invested by the Sahel countries in countering terrorism, reaffirming its unwavering commitment to sharing its expertise in countering terrorism with the countries of the Sahel, including its expertise in de-radicalization, notably through the promotion of oderate Islam, which enabled the Kingdom to establish itself as a “real bulwark” against terrorism.
The Moroccan delegation also emphasized that, per the instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has always supported the Sahel in their efforts to cope with the food crisis by providing food, medical aid, and technical expertise in several areas of cooperation.
The delegation further added that Morocco’s solidarity and commitment to the countries of the Sahel, with which the Kingdom maintains age-old ties, multi-faceted cooperation, and multi-dimensional relations, is complemented by Morocco’s support to training and border control for the G5 Sahel, which offers a pertinent response to the challenges facing the Sahel region.
The Moroccan delegation stressed that Morocco is committed to the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) launched by the US to counter terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to its participation in forums, conferences, and workshops related to the Sahel program to combat transnational organized crime, adding that the Kingdom is hopeful that the consultation led by the Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel, headed by former Nigerian President, Mahamadou Issoufou, could give new impetus to regional coordination efforts.