Kenya was Wednesday officially welcomed into the 79-member Global Coalition Against ISIS at a conference of Foreign Ministers in Washington, DC hosted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and attended by President Donald Trump.
“I welcome our newest members, Kenya and Fiji to this family of nations committed to defeating ISIS and it’s affiliates. Let us do this together”, said Mr. Pompeo in his opening remarks at the conference he hosted at the US Department of State in the US capital.
The Kenyan delegation is led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Assistant Secretary, Ababu Namwamba.
The meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Coalition reviewed progress of the past year and discussed the next stage in the campaign to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS.
The Global Coalition is committed to tackling ISIS on all fronts, to dismantle its networks, counter its global ambitions, degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS and its affiliates.
In his address to the high level conference, CAS Ababu used the opportunity to strongly discourage what he termed “the predictable pattern of travel advisories” in the aftermath of terror attacks.
“Travel advisories only serve to play into the hands of these vile merchants of death to who fear and despondence are essential tools of trade. The advisories also compromise the standing of countries already reeling under effects of terror attacks. They are knee jerk, reactionary and counterproductive. Let us commit to review this policy,” Ababu urged.
According to a statement issued in Nairobi on Thursday, Ababu also pitched strongly for the Al Shabaab terror group to be officially classified as a terrorist group by the UN Security Council and the US, who currently categorise the group only as a militia.
“Inconsistent with the current classification by the United Nations Security Council, Al Shabaab is no longer a militia but an organization that has metamorphosed into a hydra-headed monster. Its reach through Africa, in Somalia, eastern Congo, and northern Mozambique demonstrates the catastrophic dimension of its ambition and speaks to its potency as a raging terrorist group and makes it absolutely urgent that it be listed as such by the UNSC to halt its subtly distressing rise”, Ababu told the Washington conference.
He assured the global audience of Kenya's commitment to the global war on terror.
“Kenya stands ready to continue cooperating with the USA and other countries of similar mind, especially those in this coalition. Because the terrorist networks in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe or elsewhere are connected and draw from a borderless theatre, it is critical that we evolve a holistic approach dealing with all terrorist theatre - otherwise we run the risk of displacing terrorists from one theatre to another”, Ababu said.
Kenya joined the 79 member coalition last year and hopes to rally global support against the threat of Al-Shabaab and mutants of other terror groups in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region which are linked to the global jihadist movement.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of the January 15 Riverside terrorist attack in Nairobi by the Al Shabaab, which Ababu discussed in his address.
“Kenya has been in the eye of the storm of the global jihad...We do appreciate the international cooperation and support in our fight against terror. But it must be noted that while the Riverside attack was done on Kenyan territory, it was nonetheless targeted at the world," he added.