Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita on Facing New ISIS Threats

The response to threats posed by ISIS should focus primarily on supporting African countries and sub-regional organizations in terms of strengthening capabilities, with the aim of ensuring more sustainable results in combating this terrorist organization.

The response to threats posed by ISIS should focus primarily on supporting African countries and sub-regional organizations in terms of strengthening capabilities, with the aim of ensuring more sustainable results in combating this terrorist organization.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, confirmed yesterday, Tuesday, during a virtual ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, that “the response to threats posed by ISIS should focus primarily on supporting African countries and sub-regional organizations in terms of strengthening capabilities, with the aim of ensuring more sustainable results in combating this terrorist organization.”

In this regard, the Minister affirmed Morocco’s commitment to enhancing capabilities in Africa, as evidenced by the establishment of a UNOCT (United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism) Program Office in Rabat as a training hub to build counter-terrorism capacities and cooperation in Africa.

On the other hand, Bourita called for better coordination of international initiatives and efforts to deal with the situation “which is developing on the field”, highlighting the “great potential” for joining the coalition efforts with those made by the Sahel Alliance, in support of the G5 Sahel.

The minister also highlighted the importance of implementing the outcomes of the first meeting of the coalition on ISIS threats in West Africa, which was held last November, through “tangible support” for the countries of the region in two main areas; namely the collection and protection of evidence obtained on the battlefield, as well as the need for comprehensive border security.

The minister warned that although ISIS has lost control of its strongholds in the Middle East, it still aspires to always renew itself by mobilizing more support, funds and fighters, especially in other regions around the world.

In this context, he noted that Africa has become a target for ISIS, explaining that since the coalition’s last meeting, the situation has become alarming, as the terrorist threat has now reached the southern part of the African continent.

The minister stated that 2020 was the deadliest year for the Sahel region, with a total of 4,250 dead, an increase of 60%, compared to 2019.

He also indicated that light weapons were used in 70% of the attacks, while conventional improvised explosive devices accounted for 30%.

Bourita warned that ISIS is strengthening its presence in Africa through stronger cooperation with other terrorist groups and criminal networks, noting that an increasing number of groups pledge allegiance to ISIS.

In the same context, the minister noted that the attacks are taking place in a more sophisticated manner, with the transfer of skills and expertise from ISIS to local terrorist groups, as well as the use of new technologies, including drones.

Bourita also expressed Morocco’s gratitude to Belgium and the United States for this timely meeting, adding that the epidemiological situation, which captures the whole world’s attention, “should not distract us from the serious threat that ISIS still poses to international peace and security.”

It should be noted that the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which was established in September 2014 at the initiative of the United States, the Gulf States, Turkey and Egypt, now includes 83 partners.

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