Heads of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Bodies conclude trilateral joint consultations with Spain and strengthen partnership to support victims of terrorism


Madrid, 14 Feb 2019 – On Thursday, a high-level delegation composed of the heads of the main counter-terrorism bodies at the United Nations concluded high-level consultations in Spain at the invitation of the Government. The consultations sought to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and Spain to support victims of terrorism, and discuss common priorities such as Foreign Terrorist Fighters, countering/preventing violent extremism, aviation security, human rights, and civil society engagement.

The delegation to Madrid was jointly led by Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT); H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Peru to the United Nations serving as the Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).

The high-level delegation met with Mr. Josep Borell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain; General Felix Sanz Roldan, Director of the National Intelligence Centre; Mr. Jesús Alonso Cristobal, Chief Prosecutor of the National Court (Audiencia Nacional) and other high-ranking officials of the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior, as well as intelligence and law enforcement agencies. They also met with civil society organizations and victims of terrorism.

The delegation thanked the Government of Spain for its support towards international efforts to prevent and fight terrorism. “Spain is playing a critical role, especially with regard to supporting victims of terrorism, the Madrid Guiding Principles to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, the respect of human rights while countering terrorism and the participation of civil society in these efforts.”

At a ceremony paying tribute to the victims of terrorism in Spain and around the world, held at the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Voronkov said, “For decades, Spain has been leading the efforts of the international community to give a voice and recognition to victims. This has contributed significantly to the establishment of the International Day of Remembrance of/and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism on 21 August. This issue is at the heart of the agenda of the international community. Countries are eager to exchange good practices with Spain on the role of victims associations in strengthening the resilience of our societies in the face of the new challenges posed by transnational terrorism.”

The high-level delegation also participated in a roundtable on “The United Nations Response to the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Threat” at the International Affairs and Foreign Policy Institute (INCIPE). “During the Peruvian Presidency of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (2018-2019), we would like to highlight the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism as one of the most pressing issues to be further discussed at the Committee’s upcoming thematic briefings in 2019,” said Ambassador Meza-Cuadra.

At a lecture on “The role of the UN in strengthening international cooperation against terrorism,” held at the Diplomatic School of Madrid, Mr. Voronkov and Ms. Coninsx stressed the multilateral dimension of the fight against terrorism and the unique convening power of the United Nations in this regard. “Since the emergence of the foreign terrorist fighters’ phenomenon, the 2015 Madrid Guiding Principles has been a useful tool for Member States in stemming the flow of FTFs, and the recently adopted Addendum will help countries address the emerging threats and challenges related to returning and relocating FTFs including the need to support victims of terrorism,” Ms. Coninsx emphasized during the meetings while also acknowledging Spain’s counter terrorism efforts.

During the visit, Mr. Voronkov and Ms Coninsx also discussed with several interlocutors the protection of critical infrastructure such as sports venues against terrorist attacks. In this context, they met with the Director of Security and the Director of Technology of Real Madrid C.F.


For more information, please contact:

  • Laurence Gerard, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT),gerardl@un.org
  • Vijai Singh, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED),vijai.singh@un.org
  • Carlos Jimenez Renjifo, Desk Officer for Spain and Andorra, UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC), Brussels, jimenezc@un.org


This joint high-level consultation was conducted within the framework of the joint efforts of UNOCT, CTC and CTED to reach out to Member States that are affected by terrorism and the FTFs phenomenon. The joint efforts also are conducted in accordance with Security Council resolution 2395 (2017), in which the Council underscored the need for the two entities to work closely together, within their respective mandates, to ensure balanced implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

Mandated by the General Assembly, the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was established in June 2017 to provide leadership to the implementation of General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence, and to strengthen the delivery of the United Nations counter-terrorism capacity building assistance to Member States. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov was appointed as Under-Secretary-General of the Office on 21 June 2017.

Established by the Security Council, the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) is a Special Political Mission of the United Nations, tasked with assisting the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in monitoring the effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and other relevant counter-terrorism resolutions. CTED conducts on site country assessment visits with Member States’ approval to identify progress made and remaining challenges in addressing threats posed by terrorists to international peace and security. The findings of the assessment visit also constitute the basis for the concerned technical assistance and capacity-building projects. Michèle Coninsx was appointed Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on 11 August 2017.

The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established by Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), which was adopted unanimously on 28 September 2001 in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States. The Committee, comprising of all 15 Security Council members, was tasked with monitoring implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), which requested countries to implement a number of measures intended to enhance their legal, institutional and operational abilities to counter terrorist activities at home, in their regions and around the world. On 1 January 2018, H.E. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Peru to the United Nations, was appointed Chair of CTC.