By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, October 25, 2012
New stakes in the fight against terrorism require a tight co-operation between South Atlantic states, participants in last week’s Rabat forum concluded.
“Transnational networks for illicit activities such as drug and arms trafficking and the smuggling of human beings use this wide area, which is particularly difficult to control, to develop an on-going presence,” Foreign Affairs Minister Secretary-General Nasser Bourita said at the October 17th event.
He suggested that the South Atlantic region faces a multitude of “polycriminal” threats. The Rabat symposium was held following an initiative by Morocco, he explained, adding that such meetings must be held more regularly to increase awareness of the situation in the region.
The seminar focused on “the challenges of transnational security” as part of the activities of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
The initiative was launched last year as a mechanism for global action and a platform to facilitate the partnership between national players in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime. It also aims to serve as a tool to provide technical assistance and to boost capabilities.
In the face of the growing threat, it will prove difficult for a country to deal with transnational criminal networks on its own, Bourita said. He criticised the current state of judicial co-operation, which suffers from “fragmentation” which does nothing to help the fight against transnational crime.
He also stressed the need to put in place a strategy to identify criminal assets and illegal flows of finance, as well as an operational force dedicated to security threats in the Atlantic as part of the co-operation between Morocco, the GCTF and the office of the Secretary of the Conference of African Coastal States.
Bourita said it was important to increase regional co-operation and the capacity of air control officials to take action to fight the development of illegal trans-Atlantic flights carrying drugs from South America for distribution across continental Europe.
David J. Greene, a political advisor at the US Embassy in Morocco, shared the same view. He said countries in the region face a large number of terrorist and criminal threats. This situation requires a joint partnership between all countries in the region.
“Responsibility must be shared for an effective effort to fight terrorist, drug trafficking and organised crime networks,” Greene stressed.
Political analyst Abbadi Machhouri commented that countries have understood the need to co-operate in order to achieve the targets they have established in the fight against transnational crime, and particularly terrorism.
“We have seen some dangerous developments. Transnational organised crime is a real challenge to the stability and sovereignty of nations. A general shared approach is recommended,” he said.