President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan officially opened the 14th conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services in Africa in Khartoum on Thursday.
Attending the conference were over 600 participants from security and intelligence agencies across Africa and from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait. Also attending were representatives from western agencies including from France and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Addressing the conference, President Al Bashir said, “The CISSA conference coincides with the largest in Sudan the Sudanese National Reconciliation Conference. The president highlighted that a number of political parties are participating and working towards finding a lasting peace.
Peace efforts have led towards stability in Darfur and the Two Areas. The president also highlighted the negative effect the unilateral US sanctions are having on the ordinary citizen and the Sudanese economy.
The efforts of the IGAD and Sudan towards providing political solutions and humanitarian aid to refugees from South Sudan, were underscored by the Sudanese President.
Chairperson of the CISSA General Joseph Nzabamwita gave the welcoming remarks and stressed the need for African nations to work together and adhere to International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
In his address, Head of the Sudanese Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Mohammad Atta said, “CISSA contributes towards peace and stability in Africa.” He underscored that combating terrorism remains one of the more pressing issues for intelligence services in Africa.”
“Economic and social development have been hampered, and its time to translate words into deeds,” Atta said.
“The NISS remains at the forefront of supporting CISSA and its activities, including hosting workshops and events,” Atta added.
“Intelligence agencies play an important part in combatting terrorism and getting to the source of its funding,” African Union Peace and Security Council representative Ismael Shargi said.
“Africa continues to use its limited sources to combat conflict instead of using the resources for human development,” he adds. He highlighted that the continent responded firmly with issues dealing with human trafficking and illegal migration.
He encourages an early warning system between the continent and CISSA, and called for a good cooperation between CISSA and AFRICOM.
The (CISSA) had kicked off with an Intellectual Forum in Khartoum on Wednesday, with a call for adopting a strategy to achieve political stability across the continent.
African states can no longer fend off terrorism and security threats in isolation, hence the need to take inclusive yet collaborative approach, security experts have said, at the First Intellectual Forum, which was an event held at the High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies in Khartoum.
The meeting was a curtain raiser for a two-day 14th ordinary session of Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), which opens today. President Al Bashir will address the official opening today. Sudan is also set to assume chairmanship in place of Rwanda.
About 40 African chiefs of intelligence, former presidents and consultants and experts from African countries are attending the conference, according to SMC sources.
Chief of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Mohamed Atta al-Moula Abbas, said that political stability in Africa tops all African issues, therefore “it has become a constant item in CISSA’s conferences, meetings and workshops.”
He hoped the participants of the conference to hold a comprehensive dialogue on how to achieve political stability and national consensus in Africa.
“Through all our official deliberations, whether at the level of the African Union or sub-African organizations, we have kept on stressing the importance of political stability in Africa to achieve the aspired renaissance,” Sudan’s First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh had said in a speech at the opening session of the forum.
Saleh called on the participants to adopt a strategy to achieve political stability, combat terrorism and achieve security in Africa, citing that the lack of stability in many African countries have led to the spread of criminal groups, intercontinental crimes and all manifestations of instability.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, addressing the conference, stressed the importance of ensuring political stability in Africa in order to achieve sustainable development in the continent.
“Africa needs to be what God has created it to be, a land of unity and a land of stability,” said Obasanjo.
The CISSA conference is scheduled to conclude on Friday by issuing a declaration on forming a strategic partnership for combating terrorism and achieving political stability.
CISSA was established on 26 August 2004 in Abuja, Nigeria by Heads of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa. CISSA’s raison d’etre is to assist the African Union and all its institutions to effectively address the seemingly intractable security challenges confronting Africa.
Comprised of 51 states, it was also conceived as mechanism of dialogue, study, analysis, consulting, concerting, and adopting common strategies towards common security challenges among Intelligence and Security Organisations of Africa.