By Bouchra CHAKIR- Morocco
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, inaugurated Thursday, June 24 in Rabat, the headquarters of the United Nations Program Office for Counterterrorism and Training in Africa (UNOCT). The first of its kind in Africa, this project, which was the subject of an agreement signed in October 2020 with the United Nations (UN), will work to develop and implement accredited programs aimed primarily at capacity building and the development of skills in the field of the fight against terrorism, in particular in matters of security, investigations and prosecutions, prison and border management, disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration.
It will rely on the pooling of the expertise of Morocco and UNOCT in order to provide quality training for the benefit of African States, according to a collaborative and supportive approach reflecting a spirit of collective responsibility.
The choice of Morocco as a partner for the establishment of this Program Office is further proof of the confidence and esteem in which the National Strategy to Combat Terrorism and Violent Extremism is held under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
This project also consolidates the continuous commitment and sharing values adopted by Morocco and the privileged place of African issues in the Kingdom’s diplomatic initiatives, in accordance with the Very High Orientations defined by HM the King.
The opening ceremony was marked by the online participation of the UN Under-Secretary General for Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, the Deputy Director of UNOCT, Mauro Miedico and Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Omar Hilale.
The ceremony brought together from Morocco the head of the new Program Office in Rabat, Carlos Reis, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Morocco, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, and the ambassador of Cameroon, doyen of African ambassadors accredited to Morocco, Mohammedou Youssoufou.
Morocco and the UN had signed in October 2020, a headquarters agreement for the establishment in Morocco of this UN Program Office. Signed by Bourita and Voronkov, this agreement reflects the ambition to combine efforts to meet the challenges related to the growing terrorist threat in Africa in recent years.
The office aims to build the capacity of member states through the development of national counter-terrorism training programs. The UNOCT was established in June 2017 to support the efforts of the various UN agencies in their missions to accompany member states in the implementation of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy.