The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Governments of Italy, Morocco, and Niger on the occasion of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Africa Focus Group meeting.
Upon invitation of the Republic of Niger, the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS Africa Focus Group, co-chaired by Italy, Morocco, Niger, and the United States, met on March 1 and 2 in Niamey, Niger.
The Africa Focus Group is African member-led and represents a collaborative, civilian-focused counterterrorism effort intended to enhance the counterterrorism capabilities of African members of the Defeat-Daesh/ISIS Coalition. The Africa Focus Group is uniquely positioned to enhance the fight against Daesh/ISIS by engaging with interested D-Daesh/ISIS Coalition members, coordinating with other regional and multilateral entities on existing initiatives, and the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition working groups on countering Daesh/ISIS terrorism financing, furthering stabilization efforts in liberated areas, deterring foreign terrorist fighter flows, and countering Daesh/ISIS violent extremist messaging to vulnerable populations.
In Niamey, 38 Coalition members and observers participated in a two-day Africa Focus Group meeting that highlighted various counter-Daesh/counter-ISIS initiatives on the continent, facilitated regional-based discussion on the addressing the ISIS threat and identifying gaps in counterterrorism capabilities in the Coastal West African states, the Sahel region, East Africa, and Central and Southern Africa. The Group also endorsed the Africa Focus Group Action Plan that committed the Defeat-Daesh/ISIS Coalition to strengthen border security, collect biometrics of known and suspected terrorists, protect and utilize battlefield evidence, counter Daesh/ISIS propaganda and recruitment, and counter terrorist financing.
Finally, the Africa Focus Group co-chairs and member states noted with concern the impact the proliferation of non-State actors is having on efforts to counter Daesh/ISIS in Africa. This includes separatist movements and the deployment in Africa of private military companies that create destabilization within certain African states and that create conditions on the ground that ultimately favor Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist and violent extremist organizations.
At the conclusion of the Africa Focus Group meeting, the Co-Chairs underscored that the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh/ISIS remains committed to confronting and defeating Daesh/ISIS in Africa and elsewhere in the world, wherever it operates.