UN meeting on bolstering counterterrorism efforts in West Africa concludes
12 July 2007More than a dozen West African nations met with donors and international organizations at a meeting sponsored by the United Nations this week to discuss regional technical needs to bolster regional counter-terrorism measures. Characterizing the one-day meeting yesterday as successful, Sergey Karev, Officer-in-Charge of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED), told reporters today that the meeting’s objectives – to hear first-hand of West African countries’ technical needs while donors relayed information about their resources and expertise – had been fulfilled.Participants discussed the implementation of Security Council measures pertaining to counter-terrorism, in particular resolution 1373 (2001), a landmark text adopted in the wake of the September 2001 attacks on the United States.The resolution calls on countries to implement a number of measures to enhance their ability to counter terrorist activities nationally, regionally and globally. It also established the Counter-Terrorism (CTC) to monitor compliance with its provisions.There will be two tracks of action following this meeting, Mr. Karev said. While an action plan will be prepared regarding assistance for West African nations, these countries will also be in direct contact with donors and providers of technical assistance.“We hope that we will reach good results in the near future,” he said.Sixteen States – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo participated in yesterday’s meeting, which was also attended by nearly two dozen donor nations and international organizations.While committed to combating terrorism, most nations in the region lack the technical and financial resources to fully carry out their counter-terrorism efforts.Mr. Karev highlighted the benefits of providing assistance on a regional, and not bilateral, level. Regions often experience common problems – such as porous borders – and thus a collective approach results in saving time and in donors saving money because help would reach several countries simultaneously and avoid duplication.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 that 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.