NAIROBI, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will devote manpower and financial resources towards programs aimed at boosting security at the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, officials said on Wednesday.
Mahboub Maalim, IGAD executive secretary said that protecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden from natural and man-made threats is key to boost economic growth, security and peace in the greater Horn of Africa region.
"There is a consensus on the need to tackle security challenges facing the Gulf of Aden which is a strategic maritime route. Our focus will be fighting terrorism, illegal fishing and dumping of waste," said Mahboub.
He spoke in Nairobi during the inaugural meeting of IGAD taskforce on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden that was proposed by the bloc's foreign ministers at their February summit to lend expertise required to tackle threats facing the critical shipping lane.
Mahboub said the taskforce that comprise four experts drawn from each IGAD member state, will be tasked with coming up with a comprehensive strategy to promote security in the Gulf of Aden.
"This taskforce will have a clearly defined mandate of providing expertise required to promote economic development, peace and stability in this region," said Mahboub.
He said that countries in the greater Horn of Africa region are focusing on robust bilateral ties to tackle conflicts, violent extremism and maritime disputes that pose huge threat to economic growth and cohesion.
"Bilateralism has emerged a strong force in reshaping our politics, regional trade and conflict resolution," said Mahboub adding that regional peace building initiatives are paying dividends in Somalia and South Sudan.
Abdulaziz Mohammed, the IGAD chair said that competition for strategic assets, money laundering and human trafficking are some of the emerging security threats facing the Gulf of Aden.
"Regional cooperation is key to neutralize negative forces that are a threat to security in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden," said Abdulaziz.