Namuno: President highlights Catholic Church's contribution to education and health
FILE - Portugal's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joao Cravinho. ]File photo: Lusa]
Portugal’s foreign minister, João Gomes Cravinho, said on Wednesday that terrorism in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province was “not yet fully under control” and that the war in Ukraine could not take attention away from Africa.
“The continued presence of people with links to the Islamic State – Central African Province (ISCAP) and the growing propaganda of ISIS over Cabo Delgado is a cause for concern,” Gomes Cravinho said at the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS), held today in Marrakesh.
Stressing the importance of international aid to improve the situation in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, the foreign minister stressed that “one cannot say that the situation is totally under control,” which is why, he argued, the focus should remain on Africa.
“Despite the terrible crisis that was created by Russia’s unprovoked and illegitimate invasion of Ukraine, it is important to remember that ISIS remains a challenging global threat, continuing to affect Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and many African countries,” said the head of Portuguese diplomacy.
Defending that solutions should be owned by Africa, Gomes Cravinho stressed that the terrorist threat “completely justifies a more dedicated focus on the continent” and therefore views positively the creation of a working group within the Global Coalition.
Portugal, he concluded, “has been and will continue to be an active participant and a promoter, both bilaterally and multilaterally, in the search for security, which goes hand in hand with humanitarian assistance and development.”
Created in September 2014, on the initiative of the United States, the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State is composed of 84 countries, with Portugal being part of the 50 or so founding members.
The coalition’s goal is to defeat IS extremists on all fronts, whether by combating their overall activities or by dismantling their affiliated groups.
“Combating the financing of IS and its economic structure, preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters or combating the spread of the terrorist group’s propaganda are, in short, some of the objectives of these regular high-level meetings that bring together policymakers from around the world,” the foreign ministry indicated in a statement released on Tuesday.
For the first time, this ministerial meeting was held on the African continent, a geographical area where there has been an effective growth in the activity of IS extremists.
Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas but has been terrorised since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.
There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and around 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.
Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops with Rwandan support later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has allowed areas where there was a rebel presence to recover, but their flight has provoked new attacks in other districts used as passage or temporary refuge.