News / Africa

US, Algeria Work to Improve Security in Maghreb, Sahel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra (R) before addressing a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Algiers, April 3, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra (R) before addressing a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Algiers, April 3, 2014.
The United States and Algeria say they are working together to combat terrorism in North and West Africa by strengthening both security and economic opportunity.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra chair a strategic dialogue on military and commercial cooperation.

Secretary Kerry said the U.S. and Algeria were working to increase security coordination to fight drug trafficking and kidnapping-for-ransom that fund terrorism in North and West Africa.

"We want to do this so that Algerian security services have the tools and the training needed in order to defeat al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.  And we will work to address the instability that has spread throughout the Maghreb and Sahel," he said.

He said Algerian efforts in Mali and Niger underscore its constructive role in regional stability.

There has been an increase in al-Qaida-affiliated violence across the region since the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi in 2011.

African and French troops have fought Islamist extremists in neighboring Mali.  There have been attacks in Niger, Tunisia and northern Nigeria, as well as last year's assault on a gas plant in Algeria in which more than 40 hostages were killed.

Foreign Minister Lamamra said Algeria would never back down from fighting terror and asked for U.S. help with electronic surveillance.

"The Sahel region has abruptly evolved into one of our preeminent concerns as terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and all kinds of criminal activities have woven their webs and built their networks in the region, threatening the stability and very existence of the people and states of the area," he said.

Lamamra said it was now a necessity to provide a decent future for the people of the region who are still facing "dire living conditions and harsh adversity."

"We need to join forces to help advance the emergence of stronger states in the Sahel and to develop impactful economic plans to foster the best conditions possible for both security and development," he said.

The foreign minister said this can be done by creating jobs, encouraging the growth of small business, and improving access to water and energy.

Kerry agreed, saying there must be alternatives for a growing population of young unemployed.

"We need to make sure that we can find jobs for these people, that their future is defined through education and opportunity and not through IED's and violence," he said.

Kerry said those offering violence did not offer jobs, education, health care or programs to pull a country together around a common identity.

"They destroy.  And they tell people in a direct confrontation with modernity that everybody has to do what they say and live the way they tell them.  We've been through these struggles for too long as common humanity to be cowed by that, intimidated by it, or ruled by it," he said.

Lamamra said Algeria was committed to making the Maghreb a integrated, peaceful, and prosperous region and will spare no effort in contributing to restoring stability and security.

That includes the disputed region of Western Sahara, where Algeria backs ethnic Sahrawi opposition to Moroccan rule, and where Lamamra said there must be greater autonomy.

"The right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people as well as the human rights, their human dignity for them to at last enjoy the blessings of a normal life and fulfill their God-given potential," said the foreign minister.

Kerry is expected to discuss Western Sahara in talks in Morocco Friday as well.

He said the United States looked forward to upcoming elections here in Algeria that are transparent and in line with international standards.

President Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika is running for another five-year term, but the 77-year-old's campaign is surrounded by questions about his failing health.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs