U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stressed the importance of continuing the fight against Islamist terrorism in Africa as the international community works to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State in countries such as Iraq and Syria.
Speaking at a meeting of the International Coalition Against Islamic State, Blinken has praised the results achieved through operations carried out in those countries, where there has been a “territorial defeat” of the terrorist organization.
“Ensuring the lasting defeat of the Islamic State also means addressing the group’s threats outside Iraq and Syria, in places where they have also focused their efforts,” he said, before pointing out that Africa is one of the main targets.
Thus, he wanted to take advantage of the dialogue to “expand the coalition’s plans to deal with the threat of terrorism in Africa”. He also called for boosting stabilization aid in Syria and Iraq, according to Bloomberg news agency.
Numerous countries, including France, are fighting Islamist jihadists in the Sahel area. Blinken has announced a new set of sanctions against the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), a group that operates mainly along Niger’s border with Mali and often targets civilians.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio has also called for a focus on Africa to deal with terrorism to a greater extent. “Although the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria remains a central part of the coalition’s work, we cannot avoid dealing with its ramifications, especially on the African continent,” he said.