Africa must fight Boko Haram: Dutch Foreign Minister

"The growing extremist violence of Boko Haram must be fought more effectively. It is good that African countries take the initiative to do so," said Dutch foreign affairs minster Bert Koenders in Addis Ababa after the annual summit of the African Union (AU).

"In large parts of northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram sows death and destruction. If nothing is done, this area will only grow and eventually other countries will also face more violence," Koenders said. The Netherlands insisted on a regional force against the Nigeria-based militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which is currently being discussed in the AU.

According to Koenders, the AU is becoming more vigorous and effective not only in dealing with crises through deployment of peacekeeping missions, such as in Mali and Somalia, but also in promoting economic growth on the continent. The Netherlands and Europe can help the AU there where needed. "Due to their location an common interests, the European Union and African Union are natural partners for intensive cooperation," Koenders said. "Extremist violence and marginalization in parts of Africa require more modern and more effective cooperation, including in the economic sphere."