We must cooperate and collaborate to fight terrorism – Bio tells regional leaders

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2018:

The ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit took place today in Lome, Togo, with an opening  statement by the ECOWAS Chairman – President of the Togolese Republic, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe.

Other speakers included the ECCAS Chairman – President of the Republic of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba; the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki; and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the Office for West Africa – Mohammad Ibn Chambas.

President Julius Maada Bio is among other regional Heads of State and Government that are attending the ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit and the 53rd Session of ECOWAS. Today’s Summit was aimed at finding ways to fight the growing threat of Terrorism in West Africa and Central Africa.

According to statement released by State House in Freetown, President Bio told regional leaders during a closed-door session, that: “The Global War on Terrorism is an international military campaign, which was launched by the United States government after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

“Later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006. The strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism,” he said.

President Bio also stated that: “The adoption of the strategy was a complete fulfilment of commitment by world leaders to fight against terrorism, not only sending a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestation but also resolving to take practical steps individually and collectively to prevent and combat it.

“Your Excellencies, you may all recall that troop-contributing countries to the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, including Sierra Leone, were threatened by Al Shabaab. In response to this threat our region and the African Union have not been complacent nor negligent in putting security measures in place to counter terrorism.

“We have all signed several treaties relating to security and have also put national strategies in place to protect the lives and properties of our people.

“But we cannot do it alone. We need to cooperate and collaborate, if we should succeed in addressing this menace,” president Bio told regional leaders.

With his vast experience on peace and security issues, president Bio warned that conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism should be addressed.

“You may wish to note that the following issues should be addressed as they serve as the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism: prolonged unresolved conflicts: dehumanization of victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; lack of rule of law and violations of human rights; ethnic, national and religious discrimination; political exclusion; socio-economic marginalization and lack of good governance.

“While these may be conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, we must also recognize that none of these conditions can excuse or justify acts of terrorism,” he said.

The Joint ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit on Peace, Security and Global Fight on Terrorism, ends today and the 53rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, 31st July 2018.

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