Morocco, which puts counterterrorism at the top of its priorities, has been re-elected along with the Netherlands to the co-Chairmanship of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) for another two-year mandate.
The decision was made during the 8th GCTF ministerial plenary meeting convened Wednesday in New York.
Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita said the extension of the co-chairmanship is an international recognition of the efforts made by the Kingdom in the fight against terrorism.
After their re-election, Morocco and The Netherlands said they look forward to continue to lead the efforts of the GCTF in countering terrorism and violent extremism during their second mandate.
During this meeting, the ministers of the GCTF member countries reaffirmed their commitment to the joint international fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
In their joint statement released following their gathering, the GCTF members recognized the need for enhanced capacity-building and expressed their support to the GCTF-Inspired institutions.
This year’s ministerial plenary meeting endorsed new GCTF Framework documents addressing the prevention and countering of violent extremism and terrorism online as well as the protection of soft targets in a counterterrorism context.
In addressing the challenges of 21st century terrorism, the GCTF will embark on a set of new initiatives concerning, inter alia, homegrown violent extremists, the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism, and the challenge to address returning families of foreign terrorist fighters.
Morocco has a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies.
The Moroccan government’s counterterrorism efforts effectively mitigated the risk of terrorism, although the country continues to face threats, largely from small, independent violent extremist cells.
The North African Kingdom is a founding member of GCTF and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and participates in all of the Coalition Working Groups.
In April 2016, Morocco took over the GCTF co-chair role from Turkey. Morocco and the Netherlands serve as GCTF co-chairs and the co-chairs of the GCTF Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group.
Moroccan law enforcement units aggressively targeted and effectively dismantled terrorist cells within the country by leveraging intelligence collection, police work, and collaboration with regional and international partners.
The Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), a central institution established in 2015, is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for counterterrorism law enforcement.
According to some experts, one of the main factors helping to keep Morocco’s jihadists in check is the competence of its security forces. The country’s powerful intelligence agency, national police force, paramilitary police and BCIJ work closely with their American and European counterparts, receive extensive training and are highly proficient.
Moroccan intelligence has even helped to avert several terror attacks in Europe with the information it collects and shares with its regional and international partners.