Thank you President, and thank you for convening this important meeting today, consistent with your personal leadership on peace and stability to drive the Maputo Peace Accords.
The co-ordinated response to the conflict in Northern Mozambique that you secured demonstrates the importance of regional collaboration to stem the spread of terrorism. I also thank the Secretary-General and AU Chair, President Assoumani, for their briefings.
President, as we have heard, the terrorist threat is increasingly transnational and opportunistic, exploiting existing tensions in society. So the international community’s response needs to make the most of all of our expertise and capacity, adapted to different regional contexts as necessary. Let me highlight three priorities.
First, the UK is committed to regional security and intelligence cooperation on the continent of Africa and around the world. We encourage collaboration between the United Nations, the African Union, and Regional Economic Communities, including in mission settings. As with UN and AU-led operations, REC-led missions must have robust compliance and accountability measures, not least to ensure that they do not feed the terrorists’ own narratives. We recognise the challenges of resourcing and sustaining such operations. We look forward to constructive discussions about how this could be improved following the SG’s upcoming report on UN-AU financing.
Second, as we work to cut off the funding of terrorism, we encourage greater use of UN sanctions regimes on the continent of Africa, whilst ensuring continued delivery of humanitarian assistance to states responding to crises. We deeply value our cooperation with regional partners on the 751 Al Shabaab sanctions regime, we have used this to continue tightening the knot on Al Shabaab, including through sponsoring the designation of individuals associated with the group.
Third, we welcome, and endorse, calls for counter terrorism efforts to be holistic, not just military-focussed. As we review the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, we are clear that Counter-Terrorism and Counter Violent Extremism efforts must uphold the protection of human rights, the inclusion of civil society, and the meaningful participation of women, in order to be effective. The UK is working closely with partners across Africa to strengthen security cooperation. In Kenya, for example, the UK funded the establishment of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit’s headquarters in Mombasa, as part of our $8.6 million a year investment to support Kenya’s CT efforts. We also worked with national and county government, civil society and communities to reduce the vulnerability of 800 at-risk Kenyans to radicalisation.
President, in areas of instability, the Wagner Group is part of the problem, not the solution. For example, in Mali and the Central African Republic, we cannot ignore the destabilising role of the Wagner group as they exploit conflict and governance deficits to suck resources out of Africa where it is sorely needed, contributing to environments in which terrorism can thrive.
President, we look forward to the Africa Counter-Terrorism Summit in Abuja in October as a chance to strengthen further our cooperation on this important subject.