In a global alliance against terrorism, Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, has proposed the establishment of an Africa task force to identify and stop the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-related terrorist threats on the continent.
ISIL affiliates have claimed gains in recent weeks in Nigeria, the Sahel, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Di Maio standing alongside Blinken told reporters that “with the support of the USA and many other partners, I proposed the establishment of an Africa task force to identify and stop [ISIL]-related terrorist threats on the continent.
“We must step up the action undertaken by the coalition, not by shifting our focus but by increasing the regions in which we operate – not just the Middle East but Africa.”
Supporting the Italian initiative, Blinken said “let me just say very clearly that we strongly support Italy’s initiative to make sure that the coalition against Daesh [ISIL] focuses its expertise on Africa, while keeping our eye closely on Syria and Iraq.”
“With all of the reasons that we just cited, we decided this is of significant importance, and I think we heard a strong consensus today on the part of our coalition partners to do just that,” he added.
African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique) that were not initially part of the 83-member anti-ISIL coalition were invited to the first in-person meeting of the alliance for two years.
In a statement, the coalition said that it was also welcoming new members to the group (Central African Republic, DRC, Mauritania and Yemen) to join the 78 countries and five organizations that already belong to it.