Liberian Foreign Minister, H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has disclosed that terrorism of today is fast becoming a global phenomenon, rooted in logics that exist both within and outside of the societies it affects, noting that in turn, this influences diplomacy, intelligence, and war.
Minister Kemayah said terrorism creates terror, a feeling of insecurity, and the idea that leaders can no longer protect those they lead, stating that reports from the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), indicate that criminals and violent extremists are exploiting the pandemic to build their support networks, undermine trust in governments and even weaponize the virus.
The Dean of the Cabinet remarks was contained in a keynote address he delivered at the Mano River Union sub-regional meeting of Ministers of Defense and Chief of Defense Staff held under the theme: “A Sub-regional approach in addressing growing security and terroristic threats” on May 24, 2021 in Monrovia.
The Liberia’s Chief diplomat said it is also important to accentuate that terrorism alters economic behavior, primarily by changing investment and consumption patterns; as well as diverting public and private resources.
“In recent months, the MRU basin has seen growing cross-border threats from terrorist groups, which we believe have tested the resilience of the entire regional architecture on peace and security. It is a known fact, that with the vast number of porous borders in the region, no one Member State can completely boast of its national security”, he recounted further.
He Cautioned sub regional leaders to pursue a collective effort as a sub-region, in order to succeed in addressing the growing security and terroristic threats the region faces, adding “ It is about time that we engage in a win-win cooperation, not a zero-sum game”.
“The more complex the war on terrorism becomes, the greater the need for collective response, solidarity and unity. In doing so, dialogue and cooperation are strongly recommended on the basis of equality and mutual respect amongst all Member States. No Member State should be left behind in the fight against terrorism, instead, we must work together to further enhance the security of our borders, and ensure that we achieve the much needed security and prosperity we seek”, Minister Kemayah intoned.
Amb Kemayah noted that the delegates are the experts that can draw up the roadmap to achieving the objectives; as far as it is concerning the enhancement and sustenance of peace and security in our region. “You are the créme de la créme that can provide solutions to the problem of terrorism in the region. Hence, we would like to encourage you, as you deliberate, to keep the focus on actionable and achievable solutions to this growing menace called terrorism; especially now that we have to deal with another faceless enemy called COVID 19.
The Minister indicated that the true meaning of regionalism is “taking action and finding solutions”.
According to him, It is the Member States in the region that should collectively show their readiness in the fight against terrorism and act to immediately contain it, so that it doesn’t ring-fence and risk drag our region into a spiral of violence with devastating consequences.
Hon. Kemayah also stated that member states are fully cognizant that the fight against terrorism is not a job which can be undertaken by one single agency; it requires team effort and inputs from wide range of national and international agencies; including law enforcement agencies, the military, the intelligence services, the financial sector, the diplomatic service and health organizations among others.
Foreign Minister Kemayah lauded international and developmental partners for their numerous supports to the regional organizations, including the Mano River Union, adding “the Heads of State and Government of our Member states appreciate your unflinching support and commitment towards sustainable peace and security in the region.
He told the gathering that President George Manneh Weah, who is a Peace Ambassador, stands ready to work with partners who are prepared to support the peace and stability of the Mano River Union Basin.
He said the Mano River Union is an important vehicle that, if adequately supported, can be of strategic significance in driving a successful peace agenda; aimed at keeping the region stable.
Minister Kemayah also noted that conflict prevention and dispute settlement, supported by regional and international organizations, should be driven through preventive diplomacy and dialogue, stressing “this is where the MRU comes in to serve best”.
The frequency of information and experience sharing in a more systematic approach is a necessary imperative for addressing regional threats and other related crimes. Hence, organization, cooperation and coordination are key elements to consider ensuring success.
“Madam Secretary General of the MRU, please keeps up the good work; along with your Team, and keep making us proud. We are aware that it is not an easy task, but we trust your ability to lead, and that is why; the Member States stand ready to support you and your Team in this endeavor,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs recounted further,
He expressed confidence that the outcome from the meeting would be transmitted to the highest Office so that discussions at the most strategic levels can commence; to determine ways and means in supporting the MRU to implement the joint plan of action which should be the final product of their deliberation.
Minister Kemayah also cautioned the participants, to go about deliberating over the next two days on issues of regional concern with specific focus on developing a plan of action that would see a common approach in addressing terrorism and other related cross-border crimes in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The meeting was attended by defense representatives from the four MRU member countries held at a local hotel in Monrovia