The Gulf of Aden Counterterrorism Forum is a regional forum that addresses counterterrorism issues, focusing on the transnational threat posed by al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). One of the main goals of the Forum is to build U.S. partner nation capacity to counter al-Shabaab and AQAP by linking law enforcement, justice, and security officials in Yemen with their counterparts in Somalia and Djibouti. The Forum aims to help identify the steps needed to enhance counterterrorism efforts and cooperation in the region and create a lasting dialogue between Somali, Yemeni, and Djiboutian officials.
In April 2013, the Government of Yemen and U.S. Embassy Sanaa co-hosted the First Gulf of Aden Regional Counterterrorism Forum in Sanaa, Yemen. The first of its kind, the meeting brought Yemeni government and security officials from the ministerial and working levels together with their counterparts from Djibouti and Somalia. The participants discussed security challenges facing the region, including threats posed by terrorist groups such as AQAP and al-Shabaab; strengthening rule-of-law institutions while respecting human rights; anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; border security; maritime security and piracy; and countering radicalization to violence and violent extremism.
The second Gulf of Aden Counterterrorism Forum, co-hosted by the Government of Djibouti and U.S. Embassy Djibouti, begins on February 3, 2013 in Djibouti. Approximately 60 government officials from Yemen, Somalia, and Djibouti will participate in the three-day event, with U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, Geeta Pasi, heading the U.S. delegation. Participants will discuss developments in the region since the first Forum occurred last April and focus on the role of law enforcement and the military in countering terrorism; strengthening rule-of-law institutions while respecting human rights; crisis response; information sharing; and border security. A third Forum will be held later in 2014.