|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6765th Meeting (AM)
Security Council, Highlighting Changing Nature, Character of Scourge of Terrorism,
Says Can Be Defeated Only By Sustained, Global Approach, in Presidential Statement
Opening Meeting, Secretary-General Says World Community Must ‘Work as One’
Against Threat, Recommends Establishment of UN Counter-terrorism Coordinator
Reiterating its strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, the Security Council today acknowledged the “changing nature and character” of that scourge and emphasized the need to enhance global coordination to prevent attacks, disrupt criminal networks, and cut off avenues of financing for increasingly determined and sophisticated terrorist groups and individuals.
The Council capped a ministerial-level meeting on “threats to international peace and security posed by terrorism”, chaired by President Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev of Azerbaijan, which holds the 15-nation body’s rotating presidency for the month, adopting a wide-ranging statement (S/PRST/2012/17) on the issue. It noted with concern that, even as terrorism continued to impact peace, security and development and undermine stability and prosperity in many regions of the world, the scourge was becoming more diffuse, with an increase, in some areas, of terrorist acts motivated by intolerance and extremism.
As for the changing nature of terrorism and the ability of terrorist to adapt to countermeasures, the Council reiterated its concern at the increasing connection between terrorism and organized crime, as well as the fact that terrorists were exploiting new information and communications technology, especially the Internet, “for the purposes of recruitment and incitement, as well as for the financing, planning and preparation of their activities.” The Council also reiterated its concern that terrorist groups were increasingly taking hostages with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions.
“The Security Council recognizes that the scourge of terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States and relevant international and regional organizations and civil society,” Council members agreed, also underlying the need to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, as outlined in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Council members reaffirmed that Member States must ensure that all counter-terrorism measures must comply with international law and must respect fundamental rights and freedoms.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the meeting, presaging the Council’s call for strengthening global cooperation. Such joint action was more vital than ever because even though attacks were being disrupted and terrorist networks were being disabled, recent attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Yemen had shown that the threat was still formidable, and that “terrorist organizations continue to look for new havens, adopt new tactics and seek new targets”.
“By working together — from strengthening law enforcement to tackling the underlying drivers of extremism — we can greatly reduce this major threat to peace and security,” he said, encouraging the international community to pursue the integrated approach to terrorism and violent extremism embodied in the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is set to be reviewed by the General Assembly next month. He said such an approach meant resolving differences peacefully, providing education and job opportunities, promoting development and inter-cultural dialogue, and addressing the grievances that terrorists exploited.
“In combating terrorism, the international community must also work as one,” he said, expressing the hope that Member States would decide to create the position of a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator to promote better coordination, collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. The Secretary-General also urged support for the newly-established United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, within the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which served a critical role in supporting Member States in all areas under the four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
During the debate that followed, high-level Government officials joined Council members in strongly denouncing all forms of terrorism and calling for all States to step up their activities to combat the scourge and do more to help countries effectively address the conditions which bred it. “Terrorism has no justification; no matter how you dress it up,” said Alexander Zmeevsky, Special Envoy for the President of the Russian Federation on Countering Terrorism and Organized Crime, who hailed the global counter-terrorism framework set up under the auspices of the United Nations, as well as the increased cooperation against the threat by global and regional police and security bodies.
He was also among the speakers who highlighted the serious potential of increased terrorist attacks and activity in the Middle East, the Sahel region of Africa and in the restive areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He urged all States to step up their efforts to implement the Russia-sponsored Security Council resolution 2017 (2012) calling for comprehensive measures to counter the spread of Libyan weapons, including man-portable air defence systems. In that region, “the veins have become arteries”, drawing terrorist cells to organized criminal networks, and diffusing all forms of criminal activity and violence, he warned.
Guido Westerwelle, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, echoed most speakers when he stressed that measures to counter terrorism must always be based on the respect of human rights and the rule of law. They should be effective, but “they are self-defeating when they jeopardize the very principles they aim to protect”. Turning to another matter much on the minds of Council members, he said the Internet was increasingly being abused by terrorists, and cited a group in Germany that had gone unnoticed for years while it used the web to plan vicious attacks and recruit supporters. In response, counter-terrorism efforts needed to reduce “virtual hiding places” for terrorists and incitement should be countered, he said.
Guatemala’s representative said that international cooperation as a fundamental pillar of the global effort to eliminate terrorism had two aspects: cooperation with regional and subregional organizations; and cooperation within the United Nations system. He also believed that it was necessary to adopt, as soon as possible, a general convention on terrorism, in particular due to the multi-dimensional character of that phenomenon. Such an instrument would, among other things, contribute to avoiding impunity, facilitate cooperation and mutual legal assistance among States, offer a definition for terrorism and fill gaps that existed in the work of the Security Council, in particular regarding the measures applied by its sanctions committees.
Also speaking was the President of Azerbaijan, as well as senior Ministers from Togo, Morocco and Colombia.
The meeting was also addressed by the representatives of the United States, China, Pakistan, United Kingdom, India, South Africa, France and Portugal.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 12:25 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2012/17 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
“The Security Council reiterates its strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, and stresses that any terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation.
“The Security Council notes with concern that terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to international peace and security, the enjoyment of human rights and social and economic development of States, and undermines global stability and prosperity, that this threat has become more diffuse, with an increase, in various regions of the world, of terrorist acts including those motivated by intolerance and extremism, and reaffirms its determination to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including applicable international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
“The Security Council reaffirms that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.
“The Security Council reiterates its concern at incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking by terrorist groups with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions, notes an increase of such incidents in some areas of the world with a specific political context, and reiterates the need for this issue to be addressed.
“The Security Council notes the changing nature and character of terrorism, with continuing terrorist attacks around the world, expresses its concern regarding the increasing connection, in many cases, between terrorism and transnational organized crime, and emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international peace and security.
“The Security Council reiterates its concern at the increased use, in a globalized society, by terrorists of new information and communications technologies, in particular the Internet, for the purposes of the recruitment and incitement as well as for the financing, planning and preparation of their activities.
“The Security Council recognizes the continued need to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations, reiterates Member States' obligations in this regards, and acknowledges the important work of the United Nations entities and other multilateral organizations, in particular the Financial Action Task Force.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, and shall also give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the United Nations Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any State against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
“The Security Council expresses its profound solidarity with the victims of terrorism and their families, stresses the importance of assisting victims of terrorism, and providing them and their families with support to cope with their loss and grief, recognizes the important role that victims and survivor networks play in countering terrorism, including by bravely speaking out against violent and extremist ideas, and in this regard, welcomes and encourages the efforts and activities of Member States and the United Nations system, including the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) in this field.
“The Security Council reiterates the obligation of Member States to refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in or associated with terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups, consistent with international law, and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists.
“The Security Council recalls all of its resolutions and statements on terrorism, in particular resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), 1373 (2001), 1540 (2004) and 1624 (2005), as well as other applicable international counter-terrorism instruments, stresses the need for their full implementation, renews its call on States to consider becoming parties as soon as possible to all relevant international conventions and protocols, and to fully implement their obligations under those to which they are party, and recognizes Member States' continuing efforts to conclude negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
“The Security Council emphasizes that sanctions are an important tool under the Charter of the United Nations in the international fight against terrorism, and underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of relevant sanctions measures. The Security Council reiterates, in this context, its continued commitment to fair and clear procedures. The Security Council also welcomes the recent improvements to the procedures of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), in particular regarding the effective and valuable work of the Office of the Ombudsperson established pursuant to resolution 1904 (2009).
“The Security Council recognizes that the scourge of terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving active participation and collaboration of all States, and relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, and underlines the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, as outlined in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288). The Security Council encourages Member States to develop comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism strategies.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, underscores that effective counter-terrorism measures and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort, and notes the importance of respect for the rule of law so as to effectively prevent and combat terrorism.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world, emphasizes that continuing international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures, can help counter the forces that fuel polarization and extremism, and will contribute to strengthening the international fight against terrorism, and, in this respect, appreciates the positive role of the Alliance of Civilizations and other similar initiatives.
“The Security Council remains gravely concerned about the threat of terrorism, and the risk that non-state actors may acquire, develop, traffic in or use weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
“The Security Council recognizes the urgent need for additional efforts to be made at the national, regional and international levels, in order to prevent the illicit proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types, including man-portable surface-to-air missiles, in some regions, and emphasizes that such proliferation could fuel terrorist activities.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of the continued implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in an integrated manner and in all its aspects, and looks forward to its third review by the General Assembly.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need for more enhanced cooperation and solidarity among Member States, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks, and reiterates its call upon Member States to strengthen cooperation at the international, regional and sub-regional level, particularly through regional and subregional mechanisms and coordination and cooperation at the operational level.
“The Security Council stresses the importance of timely and accurate information sharing concerning the prevention and combating of terrorism, and calls upon Member States to intensify their cooperation in this regard, including through mutual legal assistance and enhancing coordination among competent authorities, also within regional and subregional frameworks, as appropriate.
“The Security Council notes with concern challenges to the capacity of some Member States in implementing the Council's counter-terrorism and related resolutions and, in this regard, welcomes the counter-terrorism-related capacity-building assistance provided by the United Nations entities, subsidiary bodies and through bilateral assistance to Member States, and encourages further cooperation and reinforcing of assistance programs to help States prevent terrorist threats, including preventing terrorist groups from exploiting Member States' vulnerabilities.
“The Security Council stresses that capacity-building in all Member States is a core element of the global counter-terrorism efforts, and underlines in this regard the importance of strengthening cooperation among Member States and with United Nations entities and subsidiary bodies with a view to enhancing individual capabilities of Member States to effectively implement their counter-terrorism obligations, including through increased capacity-building and technical assistance programs and support in developing an effective national rule-of-law-based criminal justice system, with provisions for judicial criminal cooperation regarding extradition and mutual legal assistance, in particular to expedite, simplify and give priority to extradition and mutual legal assistance requests.
“The Security Council welcomes all efforts aimed at enhancing the visibility of the United Nations counter-terrorism activities as well as ensuring greater cooperation, coordination and coherence among United Nations entities with a view to promoting transparency and avoiding duplication, takes note of the recommendation by the Secretary-General, for Member States to consider, to appoint a United Nations Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and, in this regard, looks forward to the discussions on this initiative, including within its deliberations on further improving cross-institutional coherence of the United Nations counter-terrorism efforts.
“The Security Council reiterates the need to enhance ongoing cooperation among the committees with counter-terrorism mandates established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004), and their respective groups of experts, and notes the importance of the committees' ongoing interaction and dialogue with all Member States for their effective cooperation.
“The Security Council encourages relevant United Nations bodies, in particular the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), in close cooperation within the CTITF, to focus increased attention on resolution 1624 (2005) in its dialogue with Member States to develop, in accordance with their obligations under international law, strategies which include countering incitement of terrorist acts motivated by extremism and intolerance and in facilitating technical assistance for its implementation.
“The Security Council expresses its support to the activities of the CTITF to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system, and the full participation, within their mandates, of relevant Security Council subsidiary bodies in the work of CTITF and its working groups, and welcomes the establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, in accordance with the General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/10.
“The Security Council takes note of the recently launched Global Counter Terrorism Forum and its early achievements, and encourages its continued close cooperation with the United Nations entities and subsidiary bodies.”
As the Security Council met today for a briefing by the Secretary-General and a high-level debate on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: strengthening international cooperation in the implementation of counter-terrorism obligations”, it had before it a concept paper bearing that title, annexed to a letter dated 1 May 2012 from the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the Secretary-General (document S/2012/281). Surveying United Nations action against terrorism, the paper affirms the need to strengthen international cooperation against terrorism, as the nature and character of the scourge changes, ranging from actions by single individuals to actions associated with well-known groups, including those sponsored by States in contravention of their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law, as well as the involvement of such groups in other illegal activities.
Briefing by Secretary-General
BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, said that terrorism was a significant threat to peace and security, prosperity and people, and the international community continued to pursue a robust and comprehensive response. While collective efforts had disrupted attacks and disabled terrorist networks, recent attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Yemen demonstrated that the threat was still formidable. “Terrorist organizations continue to look for new havens, adopt new tactics and seek new targets,” he said, urging the Council and the wider international community to devote special attention on addressing the conditions conducive to spreading terrorism.
For example, he said that in Africa’s restive Sahel region, instability and violence had been on the rise recently, in part because of the fallout from developments in Libya. The fact-finding mission he had sent in December 2011 had provided a valuable assessment of the situation and the impact of the Libya crisis on that region. It had also provided recommendations for mobilizing international support, building capacity and improving coordination among stakeholders.
He went on to say that the international community must pursue the integrated approach to terrorism and violent extremism embodied in the United Nations Global-Counter Terrorism Strategy adopted by the General Assembly six years ago. That meant resolving differences peacefully, providing education and job opportunities, promoting development and inter-cultural dialogue, and addressing the grievances that terrorists exploited. “And it means promoting respect for human rights and respect for the rule of law, which are integral to any sustainable counter-terrorism approach,” he said, adding that both the Council and the General Assembly had endorsed that principle. Couther-terrorism also meant recognizing and alleviating the suffering of victims.
He also urged Member States to make full use of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, and explained that the bodies created by the Council had played a critical role in the work of the Task Force, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Monitoring Team of the 1267 Committee (Al-Qaida Sanctions) and the Expert Staff of the 1540 Committee (non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). The Task Force was a valuable tool for creating an integrated response for capacity-building and for sharing best practices.
“In combating terrorism, the international community must also work as one,” he said, expressing the hope that Member States would decide to create the position of a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator to promote better coordination, collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. The newly-established United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, within the Task Force, served a critical role in supporting Member States in all areas under the four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for its contribution to the creation of the Centre and he encouraged all States to contribute their own efforts. “By working together — from strengthening law enforcement to tackling the underlying drivers of extremism — we can greatly reduce this major threat to peace and security,” he concluded.
GUIDO WESTERWELLE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, said that, as Chair of the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, Germany remained committed to working with all Member States to confront terrorism. While sanctions regimes had weakened terrorists’ resources, he said, “we must not relent in our efforts”. Recent attacks in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Iraq were evidence of terrorists’ persistence. Terrorism could not be associated with a certain ideology, religion of ethnic affiliation. The threat of terrorism was evolving, and the responses of the international community must adapt to those new patterns, he said, adding that Germany strongly advocated a further strengthening of international cooperation and capacity-building to those ends.
Strategies and measures to counter terrorism must always be based on the respect of human rights and the principles of the rule of law, he continued. Measure should be effective, but “they are self-defeating when they jeopardize the very principles they aim to protect”. The sanctions regimes of the United Nations needed to be a leading example of fair and transparent procedures. The Internet was increasingly being abused by terrorist groups for incitement and recruitment, he said, citing the case of a group in Germany that had gone unnoticed for years as it used the internet to plan vicious attacks and recruit supporters. In response, counter-terrorism efforts needed to reduce “virtual hiding places” for terrorists and incitement should be countered. Germany supported the pilot projects of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, and felt that more should be done in that field. Today’s meeting must send a strong message of determination to counter terrorism collectively and to adapt instruments to address the evolving nature and root causes of terrorism. However, he concluded, only enhanced civil liberties, economic prosperity and a chance for political participation could counter the appeal of terrorism, in the long run.
ELLIOT OHIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, affirmed that terrorism remained one of the greatest threats to the peace and security of peoples and nations around the globe, and the crimes were grave human rights violations. He agreed that the crimes were becoming increasingly complex, and fighting them taxed the resources of many countries, particularly those in Africa, where the threat was growing in all countries where there were fundamentalist groups that had chosen to commit such acts. He noted that during its presidency, Togo had stressed the threats posed by organized crime that was linked to terrorism. There was no justification for terrorist acts.
His country, he said, had aligned its measures against terrorism with international strategies, strengthening its legal regime in the areas of financing and coordination of national counter-terrorism mechanism. The country also worked with related mechanisms of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other subregional and Africa-wide structures, which showed the commitment of member States to fight terrorism. Major efforts must be made on the ground such as strengthened, coordinated intelligence. In such areas, national action must be part of regional and international frameworks for both peace and security and specific forms of terrorism. The Global Strategy was particularly important in that regard. The current challenge lay in the implementation of all such instruments. A greater and more sustained commitment in that effort must be shown, with greater global solidarity against the threat, which knows no borders. Technical, financial and monitoring assistance was critical for those countries with limited means.
SUSAN RICE (United States) said that despite the death of Osama bin Laden one year ago, unfortunately the threat of terrorism continued and the collective fight against it must continue. Today’s meeting “reminds us the work we have left to do”, she said, surveying al-Qaida affiliates in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, South Asia and every region in the world. Her country condemned all terrorism, which was frequently associated with other crimes, such as kidnapping for ransom, which she called a growing challenge. Describing some of her country’s preventative efforts, she stressed that its efforts utilized every tool of United States power, including “the power of our values”. The drivers of radicalization must be fought, as well as the logistics of terrorists, she added.
Her country was committed to strengthening partnerships at the United Nations and in other multinational forums, through coordination and assistance. She welcomed recent initiatives to strengthen United Nations efforts, and she encouraged various parts of the Organization to strengthen their work with civil society. Finally, she pledged to work “in common cause, within this Council and in the broader international community, to combat terrorism, wherever and whenever it occurs”.
YOUSSEF AMRANI, Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that the present debate was taking place in an international context marked by clear progress in many counter-terrorism fields. However, terrorist acts continued to persist in various regions and the “common goal to eradicate this menace remains unfilled”. The United Nations remained the appropriate and legitimate framework for Member States to adopt multilateral responses to terrorism, he said, adding that its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, was the most comprehensive and effective decision taken by the international community in that regard. Morocco looked forward to the Strategy’s third review, which would provide additional opportunities to consider and improve translation of its four pillars into concrete action.
Morocco, for its part, had established a comprehensive and multidimensional counter-terrorism approach that converged with the United Nations Strategy and complied with its Charter. The approach included firm and preventive law enforcement measures, as well as national initiatives aiming to address the social, economic and cultural factors at the root of violent and extremist ideologies. It was based on the total rejection of terrorism, as well as on Morocco’s values of tolerance and its firm determination to pursue an irreversible democratic path. Yet no matter how successful, he stressed, actions pursued by States alone could not manage to face the scope, diversity and sophistication of the terrorism threat. Nothing could replace effective and coordinated action by the international community. Indeed, in order to be effective, national strategies needed solid, systematic and unfailing regional and subregional cooperation. That was especially true in regions that were declared targets of terrorist and transnational criminal groups.
In that vein, Morocco continued to express concern over the situation in its neighbouring subregions, namely West Africa and the Sahel, but also in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Horn of Africa. Today there was an urgent need to establish a sustainable framework for dialogue, cooperation and solidarity — one that encompassed all States concerned — and to look past “narrow political calculations”. Morocco had been an active partner in assisting other African countries in that respect, having contributed towards the Conference of Justice Ministers of Francophone African Countries and the Ministerial Conference of African-Atlantic States, among other initiatives.
ALEXANDER ZMEEVSKY, Special Envoy for the President of the Russian Federation on Countering Terrorism and Organized Crime, said terrorism knew no borders and, literally on the eve of this meeting, the world had seen reports of attacks in his country and in Nigeria. “Terrorism has no justification; no matter how you dress it up,” he said, stressing that perpetrators of such heinous acts must be punished to the fullest extent of national and international law. He also hailed the global counter-terrorism framework set up under the auspices of the United Nations, as well as the increased cooperation against the threat by global and regional police and security bodies.
At the same time, it was clear that there was still a serious potential of increased terrorist attacks and activity in the Middle East, the Sahel region of Africa and in the restive areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The changing nature of terrorism also meant that extremist ideologies and fundamentalist activities always threatened to “heat up” into terrorist activity. All that made it necessary to promote and adhere to the General Assembly’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He also called on all nations to broaden the circle of participants in the fight against terrorism; to increase adherence to international legal conventions; and to work harder to ensure the tenets of those treaties were integrated into national legislation.
He also called for greater steps to prevent nuclear terrorism, including implementing the decisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and of the international instruments on nuclear issues. In that effort, there was a key role to be played by the Security Council. “Opening up a new page” in the fight against terrorism required building on the relevant work of United Nations bodies, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, especially regarding tackling the root causes of terrorism. The struggle for the hearts and minds of people must also be based on mutual cooperation and building understanding among all people and cultures, so that extremism could be neutralized at the earliest stage.
He said that Member States needed to continue to improve and strengthen the working methods of United Nations counter-terrorism bodies, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Counter-Terrorism Committee, which were key to providing technical assistance. There also needed to be improvements in the operations of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, including its de-listing procedures. Finally, he urged all States to step up their efforts to implement the Russia-sponsored Security Council resolution 2017 (2012), calling for comprehensive measures to counter the spread of Libyan weapons, including man-portable air defence systems. In that region, “the veins have become arteries,” drawing terrorist cells to organized criminal networks, and diffusing all forms of criminal activity, violence and extremism. All States must cooperate in putting and end to that dangerous trend.
PATTI LONDOÑO, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs of Colombia, recalled that, even though there was still no agreed definition of terrorism, several key elements of acts that the international community qualified as acts of terrorism had been identified. Those acts were condemned as unjustifiable under any circumstances, whether political, ideological, racial, religious or of another nature. Since terrorism was a phenomenon with global implications, the United Nations, and particularly the General Assembly as its universal body, should be the focal point for discussing policy agreements and cooperation. Through the Security Council, it had also adopted measures that contributed to and complemented international action against terrorism.
Among the various mechanisms to address the threat of terrorism in a coordinated way, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was an effective tool to prevent, punish and eradicate that “scourge”, she said. While recognizing capacity-building as an essential element of action against terrorism, the Strategy addressed measures to enhance coordination and coherence within the United Nations system to promote international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. In that context, the development and strengthening of national legislation and consolidation of mechanisms for cooperation and capacity-building were important complements of the Global Strategy. The Organization should reinforce the provision of technical assistance in order to facilitate the strengthening of national capacities, she said.
Terrorism was not isolated from transnational organized crime, she said. There were funding networks that arose, in large part from such criminal activities, including drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, illegal mining, extortion, kidnapping or piracy. The financing of terrorist acts was, by nature, a factor over which the international community should take more effective measures. Those should incorporate legal instruments related to transnational organized crime, and States must join forces to design comprehensive strategies. “It is time to confront terrorism in all its dimensions and complexity,” she said, adding that Colombia had been actively involved in new and different mechanisms of regional and multilateral cooperation in that respect.
LI BAODONG (China) resolutely supported fighting terrorism in all its forms, saying that it still seriously threatened international security. In strengthening international cooperation in that area, unified standards in counter-terrorism were needed and double standards must be avoided, as they undermined international cooperation. The root causes of terrorism must be addressed through integrated measures in development, as well as through a fight against intolerance and extremism. Relying solely on military means was counterproductive.
The United Nations must play a leading role in counter-terrorism, he stressed, and Charter principles such as sovereignty of nations must be respected. Coordination among United Nations bodies should be increased and he welcomed the establishment of a mechanism for that purpose. He added that the promotion of mutual respect between cultures was important and opposed linking terrorism with any ethnic groups. China, he said, had been a victim of terrorism by the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and other groups and individuals. The country was committed to participating in international action against the scourge.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan), unequivocally condemning terrorism in all its forms and stressing that no religious tradition or ethnicity should be associated with the scourge, said, “No country has suffered as much from terrorism as Pakistan”. He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to strengthening mutual cooperation in counter-terrorism, for which coherence was critical through a comprehensive strategy that also addressed root causes, including prolonged unresolved conflicts, aggression, foreign occupation, denial of self-determination and social and economic injustices. “It is necessary to eschew policies that alienate people and make them vulnerable to extremism,” as well as tackling unemployment and promoting development, he said, particularly in regions challenged by extremism.
He supported reforms in the procedures of the counter-terrorism committees of the Security Council in order to make them conform better with legal principles. He said that implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy would be helped by greater commitment in addressing the problem of defamation of certain religions, as well as combating against intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination. Turning to United Nations efforts, he pledged a readiness to analyze the recommendations of the Secretary-General for a counter-terrorism coordinator. While supporting the institutional coherence of the United Nations, he also emphasized, in that regard, the importance of respecting mandates of the various organs of the Organization.
Describing his country’s initiatives in counter-terrorism, he said that Pakistan’s role and sacrifice in the struggle was acknowledged in the international community, adding that the problem had grown in intensity over the years because of a decades-long conflict and instability in Afghanistan. The country, therefore, needed continued cooperation and support for its efforts, he said, noting it had deployed 160,000 troops on its border with its neighbour, including 822 border posts to interdict Al-Qaida and Taliban members. “Countering terrorism is a collective responsibility that should be discharged with a spirit of cooperation, understanding and an unwavering sense of our common humanity,” he stressed.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) applauded United Nations efforts to fight terrorism, which, he emphasized, was a global phenomenon that required a global response. He said sanctions were a key element in counter-terrorism and he welcomed efforts to improve clarity and fairness in the operations of the related Security Council committees, as well as efforts to support Member States in implementing related Council resolutions. He supported the call for a Counter-terrorism coordinator, saying that it was important to carefully craft its mandate and make sure it used resources efficiently, as well as the establishment of the Centre for Counter-Terrorism, thanking Saudi Arabia for its contributions in that regard. He pledged his country’s continuing commitment in the fight against terrorism and in strengthening the United Nations’ capabilities in the effort.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India), calling terrorism the most serious current threat to international peace and security, condemned it unconditionally and noted its global reach, linkages with transnational organized crime, and danger from accessing weapons of mass destruction and the use of cyberspace. An effective counter-terrorism strategy required greater international and regional cooperation than had been so far achieved, with concerted action against terrorists and their sponsors, including the complete dismantling of terrorist safe havens, sanctuaries, training grounds and financial and ideological support structures.
India, and more generally South Asia, had been wracked for several decades by some of the “biggest terrorist actors in the world”, he said, including Al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud Daawa, elements of the Taliban and others. The threat continued. His country, in consequence, was at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts and part of all major initiatives. He urged all Member States to implement the approach adopted on 28 September 2011 by the Special Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council, which was currently chaired by his country. That had raised the benchmark in the fight against terrorism and urged zero tolerance toward the scourge.
He affirmed that terrorism could not be countered by law enforcement alone, and development, education, social integration, tolerance, rule of law and respect for human rights were other critical areas. In that regard, he called the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy a holistic document. He welcomed the coordinated efforts that had made significant progress in the fight against terrorism, along with the United Nations seminal role in building capacity in Member States, welcoming as well consideration of a coordinator position. The Security Council had remained steadfast in its efforts, but it must further enhance international cooperation. He encouraged the subsidiary bodies to continue to enhance their dialogue with Member States to facilitate capacity-building. Finally, he reiterated the call for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to be adopted.
BASO SANGQU (South Africa) said the killing of innocent civilians was never acceptable and that his Government was firmly committed to addressing the threat posed by international terrorism multilaterally, and in accordance with human rights and international law under the Charter. The United Nations had a pivotal role to play in coordinating efforts to fight the deadly scourge, and it was, therefore, important that Member States pooled their resources in combating terrorism globally. Moreover, the multilateral system must be strengthened to deal with such efforts. “We should avoid the temptation to create parallel structures outside the United Nations, which results in duplication, competition and depletion of limited resources, which could be used to reinforce the [Organization’s] counter-terrorism global strategies,” he said.
South Africa believed that terrorism could not be defeated militarily or unilaterally, and as such, he said, there was an urgent need to focus on its deep-seated root causes and to develop collaborative strategies in order to tackle the myriad challenges. A worldwide campaign against terrorism must include a joint commitment to the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment. “Countermeasures can never be sustainable if these factors are not addressed in relation with counter-terrorism initiatives,” he said. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy provided a holistic and multifaceted response to the challenge and was premised on the respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The Strategy also recognized that it was important to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and it built on the international consensus that terrorism could not be ascribed to any particular religion or culture. He said that South Africa supported the view that all counter-terrorism efforts had a better chance of success if they were built on regional cooperation and coordination. There should also be greater cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council to ensure that action taken by different mechanisms was complementary. While South Africa took note of the Secretary-General’s proposal to appoint a counter-terrorism coordinator, it believed such a post must be viewed as a way to facilitate the global fight against terrorism, and should not duplicate the work of existing structures or place additional burdens on Member States.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) rejected all acts of terrorism and reiterated his country’s commitment to the prevention and combating of the scourge, and expressed disappointment that terrorism continued to grow with even greater intensity, at least in some parts of the world, with more victims — the majority of whom were almost always innocent women and children. The means employed by terrorists were increasingly grotesque, and no one — not even United Nations personnel and representatives of international humanitarian institutions — escaped the risk of a terrorist act. Further, the phenomenon did not recognize borders, thereby making international cooperation in facing the problem indispensable.
He said he was aware that all States, large and small and in any region, were vulnerable to terrorism and its consequences. Therefore, in discussing problems, the vantage point did not need to be the particular risk for any country, but the concerted response of all countries. In that regard, he urged a stronger emphasis on preventive measures against terrorism and avoiding the centring of all efforts on ex post facto measures, particularly sanctions. Also, one of the lessons of the past 5 years was that it was not possible to fight terrorism exclusively through military forces. Further, international cooperation as a fundamental pillar of the global effort to eliminate terrorism had two aspects: cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, and cooperation within the United Nations system. Finally, Guatemala believed that it was necessary to adopt, as soon as possible, a general convention on terrorism, in particular due to the multidimensional character of that phenomenon. He believed such a convention would, among other things, contribute to avoiding impunity; facilitate cooperation and mutual legal assistance among States; offer a definition for terrorism; and fill gaps that existed in the work of the Security Council, in particular in Committee 1371 and the measures applied by the sanctions committees.
MARTIN BRIENS (France) said it was essential for the Council to remain seized of terrorism, as it was still a grave threat to international peace and security. France had recently been hit on its own soil, and many local groups were following Al-Qaida or pursuing their own objectives in many regions. The international community must establish regional, national and international strategies that dealt with the issue comprehensively and that also addressed development and good governance. The European Union’s security strategy, in that vein, included a development section, he noted. Promotion of the rule of law was equally important, because a State’s lack of means in that area was exploited by terrorists.
It was vital, he said, for States to receive the technical assistance necessary to pursue and convict terrorists, with full respect for human rights. Those principles guided French assistance in counter-terrorism, particularly in the Sahel, where it included capacity-building of judicial systems. The United Nations role was also vital, and texts adopted in the Organization reflected the international consensus on fighting terrorism. The Organization was also instrumental in many operational areas. It was essential to continue to improve the operations of United Nations bodies dedicated to fighting terrorism, as well as their coordination with each other and a range of other actors. Therefore he supported the establishment of a counter-terrorism coordinator.
JOÃO MARIA CABRAL (Portugal) said terrorism continued to pose enormous challenges to the international community, requiring more coordinated efforts to ensure it was effectively prevented and countered. Therefore, the presidential statement set to be adopted by the Council rightly called for enhanced coordination among all relevant actors, and improving cooperation among relevant United Nations entities and regional and subregional organizations, as well as civil society and the media. He said there was a need to assist and encourage all States in developing comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism strategies. Such effort should not only be devoted to law enforcement, but should also address the conditions conducive to radicalization and recruitment for terrorist purposes. Such a path would ensure consistent preventive efforts.
Portugal, he continued, attached great importance to promoting a universal culture of mutual understanding and tolerance between all peoples, religions and communities and, in that regard, he underlined the influential role being played by the United Nations-backed Alliance of Civilizations. Portugal also supported all efforts towards strengthening multilateral and bilateral technical assistance programmes to benefit affected States and regions. While more consistent support needed to be directed to the most-affected regions, it was also important to devote more attention to advancing regional solutions, which would be better tailored to on-the-ground realities and would build on common strengths and capacities.
He went on to say that his delegation shared the concern that terrorists were rapidly increasing their connections with organized criminal networks in several regions of the world, escalating their participation in arms and drug trafficking, piracy, armed robbery at sea, money laundering and human trafficking. He also called for adherence to human rights and international law in the fight against terrorism and, in that regard, expressed appreciation for the “remarkable improvements” brought about by the Office of the Ombudsman in that matter of fair and clear de-listing procedures. Finally, he said that the Security Council and the wider United Nations must do more to promote and enhance a “preventive agenda”, based on the Organization’s broad set of mechanisms and structures. Those structures, at Headquarters and in the field, must carry out their work in a more coordinated and interactive manner. Here, he stressed that United Nations political missions and offices, which were particularly well placed to assess the risks posed by terrorism and extremism in their respective host regions, should be given an adequate mandate and resources to advise and assist concerning appropriate preventive efforts and to function as a link between the task Force, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), among others.
Speaking in his national capacity, ILHAM HEYDAR OGLU ALIYEV, President of Azerbaijan, said that due to the immense nature of the threats posed by terrorism to all Member States, his Government considered that all terrorist acts must be unequivocally condemned and prosecuted. “Terrorists must not be allowed to create a pretext for their actions. All terrorist acts are unjustifiable regardless of their motivation,” he declared. The changing nature and character of terrorism was linked, in many instances, to aggressive separatism, extremism and organized crime. Such interconnection increased the threat that the terrorist could gain access to conventional weapons, or weapons of mass destruction.
He said that Azerbaijan had been affected by terrorism in many ways, including as a direct target of externally sponsored terrorist activity. Indeed, he said that Armenia had “committed dozens of terrorist acts against the civilian population and infrastructure of Azerbaijan, as a result of which over 2,000 Azerbaijanis lost their lives”. Further, Armenia had orchestrated such acts with the direct involvement of its security agencies and by using international terrorist groups. He said that during the active phase of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Armenia had widely used terrorist acts against civilians in conjunction with “military aggression to achieve ethnic cleansing”. Armenia had also targeted civilians far beyond the conflict zone and had orchestrated terror plots against public transport facilities and other critical infrastructure, such as the bombs exploded in the Baku metro in 1994.
While Azerbaijan today was largely able to neutralize the terrorist threats coming from Armenia, the risk of terrorism was still high, he said, noting “open statements” and “certain acts”, including hitting civilian infrastructure, such as reservoirs and oil pipelines in Azerbaijan. Also noting that elements of international terrorist organizations had been integrated into Armenia’s security and defence sectors, he said: “It is appalling to see a country that claims to share European and universal values venerating operatives of international terrorist organizations as heroes.” The occupied territories of Azerbaijan were a source of “grave concern”, as it represented an “ugly nexus” between terrorism and all types of organized criminal activity. In addition to the terrorist threat posed by Armenia, Azerbaijan also continued to face other challenges due to its proximity to other volatile regions.
With such facts in mind, it was no coincidence that Azerbaijan had been undertaking comprehensive national measures — and actively participating in international efforts — to curb terrorism. At the same time, he underscored that the lack of a clear definition of terrorism hampered efforts to bring to justice individuals, groups and even States that promoted, supported or financed terrorist activities. As such, Azerbaijan stressed the importance of reaching an agreement on a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention that would serve as an effective instrument to address all aspects of the scourge. Such an agreement should also focus on the root causes of terrorism and should build on the work of relevant United Nations agencies and bodies to address education and socio-economic development. He also urged that terrorism not be ascribed to any particular religion or culture, and that efforts should be made to enhance understanding among all peoples and regions.
Finally, he thanked the Council for its support to Azerbaijan. Since his country’s independence, it had pressed hard to bring all States in the region together, working in the spirit of friendship, partnership and good neighbourliness. He assured the Council and the wider membership that Azerbaijan would be a reliable partner in all efforts to address global challenges. The very fact that its candidacy for membership in the Council had been so widely supported had shown the international community’s faith in Azerbaijan. His country would not let the world down and would continue to exert all efforts to build consensus on global issues.
* *** *For information media • not an official record