Italy calls on the African Task Force to respond to the growing ISIL threat | ISIL/IS News

Italy calls on the African Task Force to respond to the growing ISIL threat | ISIL/IS News


Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio called on the global coalition against ISIL to step up operations in the areas where it operates.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (Luigi Di Maio) said that he hopes to set up an international working group to deal with the threat posed by the spread of ISIS affiliates on the African continent.

Di Maio, co-chairing a meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIL on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken, said there were concerns that the organization could “regain strength.” He also warned the coalition not to relax its vigilance, even though ISIL fighters have lost most of their territory in Iraq and Syria.

“With the support of the United States and many other partners, I propose to establish an African working group to identify and prevent [ISIL]-Threats related to terrorism on the mainland,” Di Maio and Brinken told reporters standing together.

“We must strengthen the actions taken by the coalition, not by shifting our focus, but by increasing the area in which we operate-not only in the Middle East, but also in Africa.”

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio speaks at a press conference with the U.S. Secretary of State [Andrew Harnik / AFP]

Brinken said he supports the Italian initiative.

“Let me be very clear that we strongly support the Italian initiative to ensure that the coalition against Da’esh [ISIL] Focus its expertise in Africa while paying close attention to Syria and Iraq,” Brinken said.

He added: “Considering all the reasons we just cited, we think this is very important, and I think we have heard a strong consensus on this from our alliance partners today.”

ISIL’s progress in Africa

In recent weeks, ISIL’s affiliates have claimed gains in Nigeria, the Sahel, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), helping to offset the major setbacks of the organization’s initial prominence in the Middle East.

Di Maio said that African countries that did not originally belong to the 83-member anti-ISIL coalition, including Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique, have been invited to participate in Monday’s gathering-which are two of the coalition’s two parties. The first face-to-face meeting in the year.

The coalition said in a statement that it also welcomes the new members of the organization — the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritania and Yemen — to join the 78 countries and five organizations that already belong to it.

Di Maio did not elaborate on what the proposed African Task Force will do.

However, it may build on the work carried out by the French army in the Sahel since 2013. French President Emmanuel Macron said this month that the French operation will end and the army is now operating as part of a wider international effort in the region.

Macron said that after consultations with the United States, European countries participating in the region, and five Sahel countries-Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, the details of these changes will be finalized by the end of June.

At the same time, Brinken also urged countries on Monday to take back some 10,000 ISIL fighters detained in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) camp, calling the situation “untenable.”

He also announced that the United States will provide a new donation of US$436 million to help displaced people in Syria and neighboring countries.

“It cannot last indefinitely. The United States continues to urge countries of origin, including alliance partners, to repatriate, restore, and prosecute their citizens where applicable,” Brinken said in the opening speech of the meeting.

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