Countries urge joint action against IS amid spread of terror group in Africa
Rome, Jun 28 (EFE).- Foreign ministers and representatives of 83 members of the international coalition fighting the Islamic State on Monday met in Rome to discuss ways to defeat the terror organization and the threat it poses in Africa.
“This meeting comes at a time when there is fear that the IS could be strengthened,” Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said during a joint presser with his US counterpart Antony Blinken after the meeting.
“We must not lower our guard, we must increase action as a coalition, increasing the areas in which we focus our attention, not only in the Middle East, but also in Africa, in particular in the Sahel, Mozambique and the Horn of Africa,” he added.
During the pressers, both officials stressed the need to target IS funding sources to prevent its spread in Africa and Asia and eliminate their remnants in Iraq and Syria, where there are over 10,000 fighters.
The Italian minister proposed the formation of a task force on Africa to integrate its countries to counter the terror group which have spread in the continent.
Di Maio welcomed guest observers Ghana, Mozambique and Burkina Faso, all of whom face active terrorist activity within their borders.
His Spaniard counterpart Arancha González Laya showed support for the Italian initiative calling on the coalition to make the most of their experience to fight IS in Africa, especially in Sahel where the terror is “tremendously active”.
Although Blinken celebrated the progress in the fight against IS, he said that 10,000 of its fighters remain in Syria. “It just can’t persist indefinitely,” he said.
He highlighted the importance of a durable peace that allows the Syrian people to rebuild the country after over a decade-long conflict, calling for humanitarian aid for the Syrians.
Blinken said that strikes his country carried out last night on pro-Iranian militia on the Syrian-Iraqi border were a form of “self-defense”. EFE