Thank you, President Aliyev, for convening and chairing this important session and for focusing our attention on the threat to international peace and security caused by terrorism. This session could not be more timely. We meet today a year after the death of Osama bin Laden. His death was an important milestone in the fight against al Qa’ida and other terrorist groups, but it did not remove the scourge of terrorism from our world. The resilience of terrorist networks means that our collective fight against terrorism must continue. Today’s session underscores the Security Council’s unwavering commitment to counterterrorism and reminds us of the work we have left to do.
Though al-Qa’ida has experienced major setbacks, its affiliates and other violent extremist groups continue to operate and pose significant threats. Al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has expanded its reach in Yemen and looks to launch attacks abroad. Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is exploiting and sowing instability in the Sahel, particularly in Mali. Al-Shabaab, which publicly pledged allegiance to al Qa’ida earlier this year, continues to destabilize the Horn of Africa and deny vital humanitarian relief to those in need. In Nigeria, elements of Boko Haram have perpetrated widespread attacks, including against United Nations personnel. In New Delhi, Tbilisi, and elsewhere, we have seen new and recurring acts of violence against diplomats. Terrorist threats continue to emanate from and affect every region of the world. The United States joins others in condemning terrorist acts everywhere they occur.
Terrorist groups continue to evolve and adapt. Some have also become criminal enterprises in their own right. AQIM, for example, has created an environment of fear and instability by adopting kidnapping for ransom to finance its terrorist operations. Kidnapping for ransom is a growing threat to international peace and security and will pose significant challenges to the international community in the years ahead.
To counter the ongoing threat posed by terrorists, President Obama has adopted a strategic, comprehensive approach that combines every tool of American power—civilian, military, economic, and the power of our values—with the concerted effort of allies, partners, and multilateral institutions. Only by addressing the drivers of radicalization – and doing so together – can we prevent local threats from becoming regional and global ones that require a much more costly response. Therefore, we are taking determined action worldwide to stop material support for terrorists, counter violent extremism, reduce recruitment and radicalization, and empower our partners to do so as well.
Last week, the United States chaired a thematic debate in this Council on securing borders against illicit trafficking and movement. The Council agreed on a Presidential Statement requesting the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the United Nations’ various structures and activities and consider how the UN system can respond more effectively to member states’ requests for assistance. The United States seeks to help countries build enduring civilian institutions, underpinned by human rights and the rule of law, which can effectively combat terrorism as well as the drivers of violent extremism. The recently launched Global Counterterrorism Forum, aimed at promoting the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, is catalyzing these efforts.
The United States is committed to strengthening partnerships at the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to combat terrorism. The development of the United Nations’ counterterrorism framework over the past decade has been significant. The UN has played an important role in building consensus around a global counterterrorism strategy and delivering technical assistance to bolster civilian counterterrorism capacities worldwide. We encourage the UN to build upon its valuable contributions, which include the recent establishment of the UN Centre for Counterterrorism within the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. We welcome the Secretary-General’s initiative to appoint a UN Counterterrorism Coordinator and further unify the UN’s counterterrorism architecture to ensure that expertise and resources are deployed as efficiently as possible.
Civil society, particularly victims and victims’ associations, has played a powerful role to play in terrorism prevention efforts. We encourage relevant parts of the UN system, including the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, to intensify their engagement with and support for civil society worldwide in the coming years.
The United States strongly supports all of these UN efforts and looks forward to continuing to work together in common cause, within this Council and the broader international community, to prevent and combat terrorism, wherever and in whatever form it occurs.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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