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African countries vow to tackle organised crime along Atlantic coast

A suspected criminal  arrested by security agents on the sea

 

By Magdalene Ukuedojor

A total of 23 African countries bordering the Atlantic coast have made a commitment to tackle organised crime, trafficking and terrorism along the coast.

The countries, in a declaration achieved after the First Ministerial Conference of African Atlantic Countries in Rabat on Friday, said they would defend their territorial integrity.

“We are deeply concerned over the increasingly complex threats posed by terrorism, transnational organised crime and maritime piracy.

“We commit ourselves to continue with cooperation and coordination to enhance political and security dialogue around the areas of countering terrorism, transnational organised crime in all its forms, piracy, migrant trafficking and kidnapping for ransom at sea.

“There is a need to act collectively by coordinating actions on a set of strategic themes and structuring sectors.

“This will meet the imperatives of security, sustainable development and prosperity of this common area.

“The ministers of the African Atlantic States reaffirm our firm commitment to pursue the dialogue around common principles, shared challenges and converging interests.

“This is with a view to making the African Atlantic space a zone of peace, stability and shared prosperity,” they said in the declaration.

The countries’ ministers also stressed the importance of optimising the African Atlantic space for a more concerted and coordinated migration governance as well as continued consultations to address environmental challenges.

They also called for the strengthening of transatlantic cooperation, particularly with Latin American countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

The ministers particularly commended the vision of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, for coordinating a pragmatic and relevant inter-African framework for cooperation.

“We hail His Majesty’s commitment for reactivating this geostrategic consultation framework among African Atlantic States.”

They, therefore, agreed to establish the Permanent Secretariat of African Atlantic Countries in Rabat, Morocco.

The secretariat will serve as a platform for the exchange of information on challenges and opportunities in the African Atlantic space and for coordinating actions and meetings of the bloc. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
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Edited by Idris Abdulrahman