30 African leaders in Mauritania to counter extremism

July 01, 2018 - 11:05 am

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — Thirty African leaders began a closed-door meeting Sunday to discuss ways to fight extremism and corruption at the 31st African Union summit being held in Mauritania's capital.

 Africa urgently needs a comprehensive approach to deal with extremist attacks that takes into account the cultural and economic aspects that are the root causes of the violence, said Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

"The success of this approach entails the integration of solutions to the imbalances and the economic and social shortcomings that push our young people to become radicalized," he said.

The Mauritanian head of state stressed that Africa must stamp out corruption in order to spur development and for the well-being of the continent's people. "Countries that have made progress against corruption have made social, economic and technological progress," he said, without citing the specific countries.

 Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the current president of the African Union, affirmed the organization's support to the people of Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mali against extremist violence.

"We regret the loss of innocent lives," lamented Kagame.

After posing for a group photo at the Al Mourabitoune international conference center more the heads of state and government went into a closed session.

The summit, on Sunday and Monday, will discuss setting up a mechanism to return stolen money, which is largely placed in tax havens abroad. The AU says approximately 70 percent of income from Africa's resources are squandered or diverted.

The AU Peace and Security Council of 15 countries will convene on the sidelines of the summit Monday and will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the battle against Islamic extremism and ways to finance counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations.

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