Britain to focus G8 on N.Africa terror threat: Cameron

21st January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Britain will use its chairmanship of the Group of Eight richest nations to focus on the threat of terrorism following developments in Algeria and Mali, Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday.

Cameron said North Africa was becoming a "magnet" for jihadists from other countries, adding that the threat there now outweighed that from Islamist hotbeds in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"I will use our chairmanship of the G8 this year to make sure this issue of terrorism and how we respond to it is right at the top of the agenda where it belongs," he said in a statement to parliament on the Algeria hostage crisis.

Britain took over the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight richest nations in January and it hosts the summit of G8 leaders at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on June 17-18.

Cameron said Britain would contribute intelligence and counter-terrorism assets to an "international effort to find and dismantle the network that planned and ordered the brutal assault" on the In Amenas gas field in Algeria.

It will also work closely with the Algerian government to learn lessons from the attack, in which three British nationals were confirmed killed and a further three were believed to have died.

Cameron said Britain was also looking at whether to provide "transport and surveillance assets" to help the French military mission in Mali in addition to the two transport planes it has already contributed.

He said that Britain could send "tens not hundreds" of troops to a new EU training mission for Mali.

But Cameron also painted a picture of a "generational struggle" against the "terrorist scourge", saying that it needed both a political and security response.

"We must frustrate the terrorists with our security, we must beat them militarily, we must address the poisonous narrative they feed on, we must close down the ungoverned space in which they thrive, and we must deal with the grievances they use to garner support," he said.

"This is the work that our generation faces and we must demonstrate the same resolve and sense of purpose as previous generations have with the challenges that they faced."

© 2013 AFP

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