More African coordination necessary to face terrorism: Egypt’s FM tells AU's Peace and Security Council

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 16 Nov 2021

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry affirmed the necessity to intensify coordination between African countries to eliminate all forms of terrorism, as he addressed the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Monday.

Sameh Shoukry
Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends the African Union s Peace and Security Council (PSC) session virtually on Monday 15 November, 2021. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Foreign ministry Facebook page.

Shoukry made the remarks virtually during a session on combating extremist thought and financing terrorism.

Egypt is presiding over the PSC in November.

Shoukry affirmed that the phenomenon of porous borders requires collective solutions to build a safe, stable, and prosperous Africa.

Shoukry also urged serious and urgent cooperation between African countries and regional, continental, and international institutions to confront the growing connection between funding terrorism and other forms of financial crimes.

This comes in light of the growing ability of the terrorist groups to collect funding, transfer money across borders, and establish relations with organised crime groups, Shoukry said.

Egypt has adopted a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework to confront terrorism financing that has contributed to undermining the activities of terrorist groups in the country, Shoukry said.

The Egyptian top diplomat affirmed the importance Egypt attaches to cooperation with sisterly African countries regarding building human and organisational capacities in different fields.

Egypt also spares no effort in sharing its expertise in facing extremist thought, Shoukry said, citing Egypt’s Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism and the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit that provides technical support to counterparts in African states to stop terrorism financing.

Focusing on the ideological dimension is one of the most important axes of the comprehensive approach Egypt adopts to confront terrorism, Shoukry said.

Based on this, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered reforming religious discourse in a way that meets the developments of the time and conforms to moderate and true religious instructions, Shoukry added.

Speaking at the fifth high-level African Constitutional Conference in June, President El-Sisi expressed Egypt’s readiness to back African states suffering from the scourge of terrorism as part of its moral and religious responsibility.

This responsibility falls under Egypt’s efforts to harness its potential to help its African counterparts, being a “beacon of moderate Islam” globally and as part of its essential role to fight attempts to defame Islam through terrorist crimes, he said.

The Peace and Security Council is the AU’s standing decision-making body in charge of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts. The PSC’s powers include ensuring the implementation of key conventions and instruments to counter international terrorism.

The PSC consists of 15 non-permanent members elected by the AU Executive Council. Egypt won membership in the PSC for 2020-2022.

Earlier in November, Egypt opened the Sahel and Sahara Counterterrorism Centre in Cairo to coordinate the efforts of the 20 Sahel-Saharan states (CEN-SAD) to confront terrorism.

The centre will host and organise CEN-SAD’s counterterrorism training. Egypt has already conducted a joint military exercise in the CEN-SAD framework and is providing 1,000 military study grants to candidates from member states.

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