The U.S. State Department has hosted talks in Washington with representatives from seven African nations to discuss international organized crime. Those countries were Benin, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.
The State Department says transnational criminal activity, especially narcotics trafficking, threatens stability in West Africa and U.S. national security. It says proceeds from such activities have provided support to violent extremist groups.
During Friday's meeting of the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative, the United States pledged to continue to offer technical assistance to West African nations to build effective government institutions and an active civil society to address transnational organized crime. The State Department also pledged to work to reduce demand for illicit drugs in the region.
The U.S. says combating such activities requires coordination among governments in accordance with United Nations drug control and anti-crime agreements.