On August 8, the United States hosted West African partners from Benin, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo at the U.S. Department of State to discuss the mutual concern of transnational organized crime. The dialogue brought together representatives from West African states and members of the U.S. interagency community in order to strengthen regional cooperation and discuss future priorities for combatting transnational organized crime.
Transnational criminal activity, particularly narcotics trafficking, threatens regional stability in West Africa and U.S. national security. Criminal organizations operate globally and leverage vital transportation, communications, and financial networks, and enjoy impunity by exploiting or co-opting vulnerable individuals and institutions. Proceeds from these activities have been known to provide support, directly or indirectly, to violent extremist organizations. It is not sufficient to tackle these threats solely through bilateral law enforcement cooperation. Combating transnational organized crime requires an integrated, whole-of-government approach in coordination with regional and global partners, underpinned by the UN drug control and anti-crime treaties.
During the meeting, the United States and our West African partners affirmed our commitment to cooperatively address transnational organized crime in West Africa. The United States will continue to offer technical assistance to build accountable and effective government institutions and an active civil society, both of which can address transnational organized crime and its supporting activities, including drug trafficking, corruption, and money laundering. The United States reaffirmed its commitment to work with West African states to reduce demand for illicit drugs. We are also committed to working cooperatively with West African partners following the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington and in the lead up to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs scheduled for 2016.
The West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI) is a U.S. government effort to increase global security by addressing transnational organized crime in West Africa.
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