Morocco, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco has spared no effort in supporting multilateral actions for the fight against terrorism, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates Nasser Bourita said on Friday in Tangier. “For His Majesty King Mohammed VI, working according to multilateralism approach in the fight against terrorism is key”, said Bourita, speaking at the opening of the second High-Level Meeting of Heads of Counter-Terrorism and Security Agencies in Africa “Marrakech Platform”, held under the co-chairmanship of the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT). He also highlighted Morocco’s substantial support, including political, financial, technical and in-kind, is benefiting to a variety of UNOCT Rabat Office training programs. In this respect, he praised the efforts of Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Office of Counter-Terrorism, who “continues to be an efficient partner to Morocco and committed advocator of African concerns and priorities as well as a partner of a global approach to counter terrorism” in this field. “No State can effectively address terrorism in isolation: collaboration with partners is essential,” said Bourita, adding that “our ability to do so depends heavily on the strength of cooperation and partnership.” In this respect, Mr. Bourita stressed the importance of African countries to “develop appropriation of African responses to combat terrorism”. Africa should also develop self-reliance to engage an African vision for the fight against terrorism, he pointed out, assuring that Morocco is ready to contribute to the effective implementation of this effort, in accordance with the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI in this matter. The Minister indicated that at the eve of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh Ministerial Meeting to be held in Riyad, in Saudi Arabia, “we have to convey our assessment, concerns and vision to the Global Coalition so as to take them in due consideration.” He noted that Morocco is ready and available to play its role in this regard, as one of the co-chairs of the Africa Focus Group, together with Italy, Niger and United States. In addition, the Minister stressed that The nexus between separatist and terrorist groups continues to evolve in an alarming way, threatening national sovereignty of many countries, noting that terrorists are expanding their activities from the Sahel region towards west littoral Africa. “We cannot afford to overlook this threat. We must confront it swiftly”, he said. While noting the significant progress made in the fight against terrorism, Bourita warned against the current situation marked by the terrorist threat in Africa. “We are all aware that the region is witnessing a devastating surge in terrorist attacks and violence,” he pointed out, adding that terrorist groups repeatedly target civilians and military infrastructures, taking advantage of porous borders and harsh living conditions of local communities. According to the Minister, the figures reflect this situation, especially as 60% of all deaths caused by terrorism worldwide (4,023 victims) occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. “In 2022, the Sahel region accounted for more terrorism deaths than both South Asia and the MENA region combined,” he lamented, adding that terrorist groups make use of advanced and new technologies, such as drones, virtual assets, and encrypted communication platforms. “Africa is the only continent where three branches of ISIS and Al-Qaeda are active,” said Bourita, pointing out that 19 armed separatist groups are active in 22 African countries. He also reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to the success of “Marrakech platform” as a mark of “its unwavering engagement toward its continent.” In this context, he put forward “concrete proposals” that can be implemented within the framework of the Marrakech Platform, including conducting Joint Training programs: that can bring together counter terrorism agencies personnel for the purpose of developing a shared understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and operational procedures.. He deemed it necessary to preserve and and keep this action-oriented of the Marrakech Platform as a “key attribute”, adding that it is important to keep this action-oriented vision for the platform. “It is easy to give statements but true multilateralism is linking statements with actions,” he stressed. The Minister also emphasized the imperative of establishing joint working groups within “Marrakech Platform”: that can focus on specific regional threat, in order to streamline coordination, promote information sharing and facilitate collaborative work. This also includes strengthening regional cooperation with new emerging frameworks: by engaging in regular dialogue with new innovative counter-terrorism frameworks in order to encourage the development of shared synergies and local solutions for local contexts. The second High-Level Meeting of Heads of Counter-Terrorism and Security Agencies in Africa “Marrakech Platform”, spread over two days, is attended by 38 high-level delegations representing African security services and international, regional and sub-regional organizations concerned with counter-terrorism.
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