At the conclusion of a trip to Senegal, Mali, Algeria and Tunisia today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said confronting the terrorist threat to the region requires international coordination.
"It goes without saying that the security situation in North Africa has substantially deteriorated in recent months. The flow of weapons from Libya has armed terrorists in the region and destabilized at least one government. An increasingly dangerous spread of weapons and fighters across the region is also empowering al Qaeda to take advantage of impoverished and disenfranchised populations and ungoverned territories," Corker said. "It is clear that the international community needs a real, workable plan to combat the transnational terrorist threat confronting North Africa on a going-forward basis, rather than simply reacting to events as they happen, country by country. Without serious coordination among all affected nations, the threat posed by these groups will intensify."
Since Friday, Corker has been on a trip to North and West Africa (February 15-19), visiting key countries and foreign leaders, including the prime minister of Algeria, the president of Tunisia, and the prime minister of Senegal. Corker also met with the commanders of the French and African forces fighting al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Mali.
In the coming weeks, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold hearings on global counterterrorism matters, including the threat posed by terrorist groups in North and West Africa.