US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
- The US Secretary of State is due in Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola.
- The fight against terrorism with partner countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Benin, and Togo will be reviewed.
Other issues set for discussion are democracy, health, climate change, economic partnerships, outer space research, and silencing guns in Africa.
The fight against terrorism is set to be the major talking point when the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola next week.
“The Secretary wants to go to the continent and demonstrate and assess the follow-up that the United States has undertaken to implement the commitments and topics from the US Africa Leaders Summit of December 2022,” Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee told journalists.
One of the continent’s unstable areas is the Sahel region, where violent extremism led to more than 4.2 million people being displaced as of 2023.
“We can never get away, though, from peace and security issues. So, when we’re in Cote d’Ivoire, we’ll talk about the situation in the Sahel and coastal West Africa,” Phee said.
She added that “if the terrorist threat in the Sahel were to disrupt life in those countries, it would be problematic for a huge portion of Africa”.
The US is a direct victim of a landmark terror attack. On 11 September 2001, Al-Qaeda bombed the Twin Towers in New York.
Since then, it has made the “fight against terrorism” one of its international priorities.
Through the Global Fragility Act, the US has been “perfecting” its fight. Phee said they were “really good at going after terrorists”, but that there was a bigger picture to it.
We’re really good at security assistance and we’re really good at going after terrorists, but if you neglect governance, economic development, factors like climate change, you can’t really get at a durable solution.
The flagship anti-terror campaign by the US in the Sahel is a multi-country project involving the coastal countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Benin, and Togo.
Other than violent extremism, coups have made the security situation difficult in the region.
There’s also the withdrawal of France in preference for Russia’s paramilitary outfit the Wagner Group in countries such as Mali.
While saying that the US did not object to countries choosing their allies, Phee added that partnerships with countries like Russia complicated things.
“We don’t have any objection to countries diversifying partnerships. If they chose to have a partnership with countries like Russia, that would be very complicated,” she added.
“I think if they (Niger) just look west to Mali and see the increase in civilian casualties and the increase in security attacks since the junta government in Mali invited in the Wagner Group and kicked out the French – that isn’t a model that I would want to follow or I think most people would want to follow if you were governing a country.”
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Phee said the elections had been chaotic, but one good outcome was that there was minimal violence.
One of the aims of US during the Africa tour is to get the ear of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.
“Those elections were big and messy as you saw, but there was no major violence, which we had been concerned about,” Phee said, adding that the US would engage Tshisekedi about regional peace initiatives.
Other issues set for discussion are democracy, health, climate change, economic partnerships, and outer space research.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
Source link : https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/us-secretary-of-state-to-focus-on-fight-against-terrorism-during-africa-visit-20240119
Publish date : 2024-01-19 17:44:49