The Austrian Ambassador to Algeria visits the ACSRT.

Her Excellency Franzika HONSOWITZ-FRIESSNIGG accompanied by the Austrian Defence Attaché, Colonel Johann TRUMMER, paid a working visit to the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) on 16 March 2015.

Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, the AU Chairperson’s Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism Cooperation and ACSRT Director and ACSRT staff members, gave the two-person delegation a warm welcome before the ACSRT Director expressed the wish to know the Austrian delegation’s reason for honouring the ACSRT with their visit.

The Austrian Ambassador, who has been working in Algeria for six months only, told Ambassador Madeira that she came to discuss the possibilities and areas of Counter Terrorism cooperation with the ACSRT. Counter Terrorism cooperation strengthening at both the bilateral level with Austria and even at a higher level with the European Union.

Ambassador Madeira responded by saying that the ACSRT has a clear mandate which is to collect as much information as possible on terrorism and terrorist threat, analyze the information and inform member states, conduct studies and carry out training in order to build African capacity to combat the scourge.

The ACSRT Director went on to explain that when training workshops are held, as has been the case with workshops on Countering Violent Extremism held in Algeria and Central Africa, the recommendations that are made at the end are used to produce a Counter Terrorism matrix. Once the matrix is produced it has to be implemented and it is in this light that the ACSRT establishes strong partnerships with governments, regional communities, religious leaders, the civil society, the private sector and the media to form a National Counter Terrorism Observatory which will ensure that the recommendations in the matrix are implemented. This is also in line with the Nouakchott Process which puts the ACSRT in contact with 11 countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Mali, Nigeria, Guinea Conakry and Cameroon) with each country providing 4 members that are drawn from the Muslim community, the Christian community, the government and the civil society.

Ambassador Madeira added that workshops to explain the establishment of the National Counter terrorism Observatory should be financed by countries, preferably by including it in their national budgets. The ACSRT will organize workshops to sensitize countries to implement the C.T. matrix and help support the setting up of the C.T. Observatory. The Austrian government will now step in to work directly with and bolster the observatory.
The Austrian Ambassador who had been listening attentively all along found the project very interesting and promised to put in a word to the European Union Ambassador and other representations to seek ways of funding the project.