Discussions about an Egyptian initiative to develop a mechanism for sharing intelligence efforts to combat terrorism are ongoing, Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi said in his opening speech at the fifth Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) on Thursday.
The meetings aim to renew, recreate, and reform the CEN–SAD’s work in the wake of security threats and challenges in the region. This is the first meeting since the fourth Ministerial Conference in Tripoli, Libya in 2011.
“Egypt is always willing to cooperate and present its experience and capabilities to support the goals of stability and development for our nations in Africa, especially CEN-SAD countries which are considered a main constituency for our national security,” Sobhi said.
According to Sobhi, Egypt could support CEN-SAD countries by utilising its membership in the Security Council and the African Peace and Security Council to raise issues of common concern among all African countries, such as terrorism. Further, the Egyptian Armed Forces have experience in cooperating with neighbouring countries in the fields of security and economy. Moreover, Egypt could utilise its competence in the field of qualifying calibres for peacekeeping in several conflict zones, some of which are in CEN-SAD countries.
“In recent years, acts by terrorists have spread across the entire African continent which severely threatens our developmental goals,” he said in his speech.
During the bilateral preliminary meetings Sobhi discussed other issues related to organised crime such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, and abduction with his counterparts from Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Libya.
In the second half of this year, there will be a summit in Morocco for the heads of CEN-SAD member states. The Egyptian representatives will propose the establishment of a council to fight terrorism. They will discuss illegal immigration, smuggling, and border protection issues, Egyptian ambassador to Libya and permanent representative of Egypt to the African Union, Mohammed Abu Bakr said in a press statement.