Morocco, the Netherlands co-chairs of Global Counter Terrorism Forum

gctfMorocco and the Netherlands have been unanimously elected co-chairs of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) taking over from the US and Turkey which had chaired the forum set up in 2011.

The election took place during the GCTF Coordination Committee 7th session held in Qatar’s capital Doha last week.

The election of Morocco as co-chair of the forum represents a recognition of the kingdom’s sound strategy and unwavering commitment to countering terrorism and translates the international community’s confidence in Morocco as a fundamental pillar of the international anti-terrorism mechanisms, commented the Moroccan Foreign Ministry.

The election evidences, if need be, Morocco’s strong involvement in the struggle against extremism and terrorism at the international scale and its readiness to be at the forefront of this struggle as well as its standing as a strong strategic ally in the volatile Sahel Sahara region.

The North African country has fought the phenomenon militarily through attacks against armed groups, at the level of security through dismantling a number of terrorist cells at home and also at the level of intelligence sharing as it set up important data bases that enabled several countries to foil terrorist attempts.

Also, Morocco has realized long ago that a security-based approach alone is not sufficient to address the complex aspects of terrorism. It has therefore developed a pragmatic preventive approach encompassing political, socio-economic, cultural and religious aspects.

The GCTF Coordination Committee’s session held in Doha focused on the fight against violent extremism and the problem of the growing number of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) joining the extremist groups in Iraq and Syria and discussed among other topics the situation in the Sahel-Sahara region and in the Horn of Africa, criminal justice and the rule of law.

Over one hundred participants, policy makers and experts in the fight against terrorism from different regions of the world, delegates of the United Nations and other regional and multilateral organizations took part in the Forum six working groups.

Morocco and the Netherlands have been chairing the new “Foreign Terrorist Fighters” (FTF) since the Working Group had been endorsed at the sixth meeting of the GCTF Coordinating Committee in New York on 22 September 2014.

Prior to this, the two countries led the GCTF “FTF Initiative,” launched in September 2013, and held several meetings to share good practices and challenges on a wide range of FTF issues related to law enforcement, the justice sector, information-sharing, border controls, and countering violent extremism.

Morocco hosted in Marrakech, in December 15-16, 2014, the inaugural plenary meeting of the GCTF’s Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group.

The FTF Working Group is dedicated to addressing the FTF phenomenon, with a particular focus on the implementation of the GCTF The Hague-Marrakech Memorandum on Good Practices for a More Effective Response to the FTF Phenomenon and helping to coordinate the growing number of civilian-focused efforts at the national, regional, and international levels to stem the flow of FTFs and effectively address this evolving transnational terrorism challenge and the threat posed by returning FTFs.

The FTF Working Group had noted that while the FTF challenge is not a new phenomenon, it remains a critical and pressing global security issue and that no country or single entity within a country can face this threat alone.

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