UN chief commends AU efforts to address violent extremism

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has commended the growing emphasis by the African Union (AU) and its Member States to address the drivers of violent extremism.

“It is crucial that our efforts include tackling the lack of economic opportunities, including extreme poverty, marginalization, exclusion and discrimination, while ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and human rights,” Mr. Guterres told the 749th AU Peace and Security Council Meeting at the Level of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,

The session, held late Saturday under the theme ‘Towards a comprehensive approach to combat the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa’, preceded the opening of the 30th AU Summit on Sunday,

“We must place a special focus on expanding opportunities for young people -- especially since youth under the age of 25 form the largest demographic group in most developing countries and they are often the ones most at risk of being recruited and radicalised by terrorists,” the UN chief stated.

Pointing out that terrorism is not only a threat to peace and security but also to sustainable development, Mr. Guterres said that strategic investments in education and employment for young men and women are essential, resource mobilization for counter terrorism efforts is also critical.

He called on the international community to mobilize resources in support of African countries as they strive to balance security and development.

In addition, Mr. Guterres welcomed the AU leaders’ focus on a comprehensive approach to combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa.

On this issue he identified three overarching points. First, he said that nothing justifies terrorism.

“No cause or grievance can ever excuse the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the destruction of lives and livelihoods, and the creation of panic for its own sake,” Mr. Guterres said.

On the second point, he said that terrorism has unfortunately been around in different forms across ages and continents.  “But modern terrorism is being waged on an entirely different scale.  It has become an unprecedented threat to international peace, security and development.”

Thirdly, he told the African leaders, “we know modern terrorism is not only different in degree, but also different in nature – having grown more complex, and with new modus operandi. And the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime are growing every day.”

Observing that no single nation, institution, or organization can defeat terrorism in Africa or anywhere else, Mr. Guterres said: “The world should never forget that the vast majority of terrorist attacks take place in developing countries. The communities, victims and survivors of terrorism are very much in our hearts.

“The devastating consequences of the threat posed by terrorism in Africa demand collective and comprehensive action. We need a sustained, cooperative and coordinated approach in tackling this menace.”  

He described the AU as a vital partner in confronting the global challenge posed by terrorist groups.

“As I have said from day one as Secretary-General, we needed a higher platform of cooperation with the African Union.  And I am proud that we are indeed building that platform across the range of challenges and opportunities confronting this great continent.”  

Last year, heads of the UN and the AU signed the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. It includes cooperation in the field of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.

Mr. Guterres said that the framework could be strengthened further with a Memorandum of Understanding setting out a road map for future collaboration and capacity-building support on countering terrorism.

Looking ahead, he said a comprehensive approach to combatting the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa can be developed around four key priorities.

First, by addressing the deficit in international counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.

Second, he explained that success in countering terrorism will be greatly advanced through ratification of existing legal counter-terrorism instruments, conventions and protocols.

Third, he indicated that the threat posed by terrorism requires addressing the root causes and underlying conditions.

Mr. Guterres assured the meeting that the UN “is ready to provide the support needed to the African Union and Member States to implement these instruments.”

He said that in June, he will convene “the first-ever UN Summit of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies to build on Member States’ priorities and our discussion today.  Our goal is to enhance cooperation and the exchange of information, and develop new and innovative ways to tackle terrorism.”
-0- PANA AR 27Jan2018

27 january 2018 19:31:29

xhtml CSS