Regional cooperation is imperative to enhance security interdependence among states bordering the Red Sea as the region has become increasingly complex and unpredictable, Institute of Foreign Affairs Deputy Executive Director Mesafint said.
Speaking at the First Annual Regional Consultative Forum on Red Sea Security Dynamics today, Mesafint Tefera said the security landscape of the Red Sea region has been enormously reshaped for the last few years.
This is due to various factors such as economic projections, military rivalries, competition over resources, the spread of protest movements, and the potential confrontation between regional and international players, he added.
In addition to this, the deputy executive director said that there is also a looming threat from non-state actors including traffickers, pirates, cross-border criminals, extremists, and terrorists making the need for regional dialogue and cooperation crucial.
Considering the complex and unpredictable security situation in the Red Sea region, the Institute of Foreign Affairs organized a consultative forum aimed at raising awareness.
“This regional consultative forum is organized with the objectives of raising awareness about the mounting security threats the region is facing and continues to face in the near future in an assumption to effectively address them.”
It also seeks to engage in discussions or regional cooperation platforms that can enhance security interdependence among states bordering the Red Sea, with the view to enhancing the influence of think tanks in shaping regional platforms and promote among them to develop innovative solutions to security challenges.
According to Mesafint, the forum is expected to produce well-informed policymakers, and research-oriented policy and eventually shape public opinion towards peace through research, advocacy, and outreach services.
“By achieving these outcomes we can contribute to the establishment of the Red Sea region forum that is both secure and prosperous, characterized by peace and stability. We have the ability to foster an atmosphere that encourages effective governance, cooperation, and inventive ideas by leveraging knowledge and collaboration.”
Ethiopian National Defense Force Advisor to the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Alemeshet Degife said on his part that the Red Sea region, which encompasses the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and North Africa is a diverse geopolitical environment.
Besides geography, the states in the region share a cultural and religious affinity. In this case, a situation that takes place on either side of the region has immediate spillover effects on the other side.
Given its importance for global trade and security, countries have recently been competing, building ports, and projecting economic influence as well as military might, the advisor elaborated.
Lieutenant General Alemeshet noted that some of those countries have successfully established a strong military presence in the region, while others are still looking for a foothold.
“Beside the growing geo-economics projections, military rivalries, and the risk of confrontations between key regional players and international actors, however, there is also growing importance of non-state actors operating in the region” he pointed out.
The advisor stressed the need for reinforcing regional security cooperation and alliances more than ever, adding that “we require a sense of urgency and continued commitment in order to overcome the challenges.”
Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Affairs Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gebeyehu Ganga stated that different countries have been coming to the Red Sea region to achieve their strategic, economic, and ideological objectives since 2001.
Despite ample windows of opportunity for cooperation and mutual benefits of countries in the Red Sea region, he observed that the region is also facing profound security challenges.
The director general finally urged countries in the Red Sea region to create an environment of inter-regional institutions that enable citizens and other legitimate sub-regional and international stakeholders to meaningfully participate in peace and security initiatives.
For him, this would ensure the long-term peace and stability of the Red Sea region.
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