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U.S. seeks Africa’s support against N. Korea’s nukes, terrorism

The U.S. has sought for the cooperation of the African region in pressuring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently on a week-long visit to Africa, said a nuclear-weapons’ capable North Korea threatened the entire global community.

Tillerson said: “As many African countries assume greater responsibility to address their needs at home, the United States needs our partners in Africa to take an active role on the global stage as well.

“One area where we seek greater cooperation is our peaceful pressure campaign to bring the DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – to the negotiating table.

“North Korea threatens the entire global community through its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities, including its arms exports to Africa.

“It doesn’t just involve our allies in Europe or Asia. It doesn’t just include countries with longstanding ties to the DPRK, like China and Russia. This is and must be a global effort”.

He noted his recent trip to South America, where he spoke candidly with his counterparts about ways they were actively working to contribute to this pressure campaign adding nations in Africa need to do more.

According to him, Angola and Senegal have taken steps to exert some diplomatic and economic pressure while the Ethiopian Government has made public commitments of support as well.

“Many African nations are holding back. We hope they will add their voices to that of the international community and end these diplomatic, economic, or weapons programs with the regime in North Korea.”

On terrorism, he said the future of stability in Africa was dependent on security adding without it, none of the other pieces could be put into place.

The Secretary of State said security was the condition that was necessary for economic prosperity and strong institutions on the continent.

He regretted that the long reach of terrorism threatened to steal the future of countless individuals, with thousands of people who died at the hands of terrorists in Africa.

He said since the bombing of U.S. embassy in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, terrorist attacks rose from less than 300 in 2009, to more than 1,500 in each of the years 2015, 2016, and 2017.

“And more recently, we witnessed again the heartbreak of the abduction of more than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls – ripped from their families, forever changing their future,” he regretted.

He noted that last week, in response to the growing threat, he designated and the U.S. sanctioned seven ISIS-affiliated groups, including ISIS-West Africa and its leaders in an effort to cut off the resources that these groups use to carry out attacks.

To prevail against such evil forces, Tillerson said the U.S. had committed to working with African partners to rid the continent and the world of terrorism.

He said this is by addressing the drivers of conflict that lead to radicalisation and recruitment in the first place, and building the institutional law enforcement capacity of African nations.

“We want to help Africa states provide security for their citizens in a lawful manner. Today African nations are stepping up to take action, including the sacrifices that go with such commitment.

“Terrorism knows no borders. In the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, al-Qaida in the Maghreb and other groups are adaptable, they’re resilient, and capable of launching attacks throughout the area.”

According to him, regional cooperation is crucial to disrupting those attacks and denying them the capability to plan and carry them out in the future.

He said the Multinational Joint Task Force – created by Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Benin, and Cameroon – along with the Group of Five Sahel nations – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – were pooling expertise and resources.

“Their work is instrumental in achieving African-led solutions to terrorism and instability,” Tillerson emphasised.

The U.S., while also stressing the strategic importance of Africa, said 53 per cent of all UN operations are in Africa, 87 per cent of the world’s UN troops are in Africa, and almost 70 per cent of all the troops are African.

NAN


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