Egyptian Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi presented the “Sharm El-Sheikh Agreement” at the conclusion of the fifth Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) on Tuesday. The agreement, which has an emphasis on exchanging military experience and knowledge to counter terrorism, included a joint statement from the participating delegations who asserted the need to end conflict and fight extremism in the region.
The member states have agreed on enhancing military, security, and intelligence strategies to combat terrorism, and limit the activities of extremist groups, Sobhi said. In addition to security policies, the agreement stated that economic strategies in CEN-SAD states must be enhanced to limit enrolment in militant groups.
According to the agreement, Egyptian military forces are permitted to participate in border protection with Libya and Sudan, as well as to share military intelligence concerning militant activities. Egypt is also allowed to communicate with countries combating extremist groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, in order to limit, and eventually halt, their activities.
The agreement also vowed to stop any interference in the internal affairs of member states, and to halt activities of rebel groups.
The final joint statement of the CEN-SAD countries entailed that a counter-terrorism centre will be established with its permanent headquarters in Egypt.
After Sobhi finished reading the Sharm El-Sheikh agreement, defence ministers of Tunisia, Guinea, Morocco and other countries spoke about the role of their countries in the fight against terrorism. They praised Egypt’s initiative in organising this conference and thanked President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who vowed to give 1,000 scholarships to military cadres from member states for training in Egypt.
The sixth round of the CEN-SAD meeting is expected to be held in Ivory Coast, while another conference attended by leadership will be held in Morocco later this year.