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UN meeting to focus on strengthening counter-terrorism efforts in West Africa

UN meeting to focus on strengthening counter-terrorism efforts in West Africa

Sixteen West African countries are set to meet with donors at a United Nations-hosted meeting tomorrow to discuss a more targeted and regional approach to strengthening their ability to fight terrorism both within their borders and across the region.

The day-long meeting in New York will give participants a chance to discuss the challenges faced by countries in putting into practice the various Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions, particularly resolution 1373 (2001) which calls on countries to adopt a series of counter-terrorism measures in their national legislation, and by providers which deliver counter-terrorism related technical assistance.

Organized by the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED), the meeting also aims to encourage the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly in September 2006.

Although the current threat of terrorism in most West African countries is not high, there is a danger that terrorists might exploit domestic and regional instabilities for recruitment and training and perpetrate attacks both within and beyond the region, according to a press release issued by the CTED.

Despite their commitment to combating terrorism, most nations in the region lack the technical and financial resources to fully carry out their counter-terrorism efforts.

The experiences of Mali and Nigeria with regard to ratifying international terrorism-related conventions, law enforcement and border control will be presented as case studies and lessons learned at the meeting.

The States participating in tomorrow’s meeting are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Also attending will be some 20 donor nations and international organizations.

As part of its work to facilitate technical assistant to States, the CTED seeks to line up countries needing support with the various counter-terrorism programmes donors and organizations have available in such areas as drafting terrorism-related legislation, financial law and practice, training for law enforcement personnel, customs control and enhancing financial regulations.