Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has called for a summit to discuss a pan-African counterterrorism force, his latest bid to create an international coalition to fight extremists.
Mr El Sisi addressed leaders at the African Union gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday, at which he also handed the rotating one-year presidency to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Egypt is ready to host this special African summit out of its sense of responsibility and its belief in the importance of such a force in establishing peace and security in Africa,” he said.
Mr El Sisi said the summit should lay down a “comprehensive vision” for counterterrorism and establishing peace and security across the continent.
A former general who took office in 2014, he has called repeatedly for the international community to pool its resources in a fight against terrorism, arguing that single nations may not be a match for rapidly growing militant groups that could operate across borders.
Egypt has been co-operating closely with fellow Arab nations and western allies in the fight against extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.
A pan-African force could move against such groups based in Libya, which Egypt blames for cross-border raids on security forces and its Coptic Christian minority in recent years.
It could also help with the fight against militants in the sub-Sahara region who have staged increasingly frequent and deadly attacks.
Egypt is dealing with a years-long insurgency by militants concentrated in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.
The insurgency has proved to be resilient, despite the superior firepower and size of the security forces, but the militants have been denied control of large amounts of territory.
As defence minister, Mr El Sisi led the military’s removal in 2013 of Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood whose one year in office was divisive.
Morsi died in prison last year.
Updated: February 11, 2020 02:34 PM