Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a United Nations Security Council Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security
Thank you for your leadership that you and Turkey have shown this year as chair of the Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee. And thank you for bringing us today to focus on what is a shared mission to combat terrorism and violent extremism. And we are called to this mission as individual nations and as a community of nations to protect our citizens, strengthen our security, foster stability in unstable places, and help create the conditions for long-term progress.
And I want to thank the Secretary General. Thank you so much and your staff here at the United Nations because after all, the UN is our premier forum and it’s valuable for sharing best practices and helping nations that struggle with terrorism build their capacity to respond to threats. The UN has recently taken steps to advance these goals by integrating counterterrorism throughout its work to address peace and security challenges worldwide, at the same time, promoting transparency and improving coordination within the UN system and with the national counterterrorism teams on the ground in communities around the world.
I want to speak briefly about the progress made with one critical counterterrorism tool, the 1267 al-Qaida Taliban Sanctions List. This list must evolve as the threat posed by these groups evolves, so we are pleased that the 1267 Committee actively updates the list. So far this year, 45 names have been removed and 17 have been added. And we commend the committee for creating an ombudsperson – that’s maybe a new word, but it’s ombudsperson – to receive petitions from individuals and entities that want to be de-listed. We applaud the inclusion of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and its leaders on the list, and we encourage member-states to provide regular updates to the committee to ensure that the list remains accurate.
This regime, as with all of our joint efforts, is only as strong as our shared commitment. And today, let me emphasize that the United States is committed to working through multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, to confront the threats posed. We are also committed to strengthening this multilateral architecture. We believe it can do better. So although we are very supportive, we want to work with all of you to improve it. Since we believe, too, that countering terrorism is not a task that any country achieves on its own, it is a global challenge. It calls for all nations to be vigilant and creative, as well as receptive to new ideas and willing to set aside failed strategies, and be open with each other about the threats we face and how we are addressing them. We are far more likely to succeed in thwarting terrorist networks like al-Qaida and its syndicate of organizations if we work together to track their actions, share intelligence, disrupt their schemes, and put their leaders out of action. These groups have a global view and we must have one too that begins with a shared understanding of the big picture.
Counterterrorism demands a comprehensive approach, as reflected in the presidential statement that will be adopted at the conclusion of today’s meeting. Therefore, we need intelligence operations capable of discovering terror plots, military and law enforcement officers trained and ready to stop them, border patrol officials who can spot potential dangers, justice systems that can fairly and effectively prosecute criminals, corrections systems that can then detain those who have been arrested and/or convicted. So we have to do more to develop these institutions and capacities and help each other by mobilizing expertise and resources.
But at the same time, beyond these measures we have to realize that countering terrorism means more than stopping terrorists. It means stopping people from becoming terrorists in the first place. And that requires addressing the political, economic, and social conditions that make people vulnerable to exploitation by extremists. For people whose lives are characterized by frustration or desperation, for people who believe that their governments are unresponsive or repressive, al-Qaida and other groups may offer an appealing view. But it is a view rooted in destruction, and we have to provide an alternative view that is rooted in hope, opportunity, and possibility.
So that means enacting policies that do create new opportunities for people to build a better future for themselves, strengthening our commitment to core values, particularly human rights and the rule of law. We cannot sacrifice those values in our zeal to stop terrorists. Our values are what makes us different from those who are trying to tear down so much of the progress that has been made over the course of history, and I have to add, especially for women and girls.
So as we work to do – defeat terrorists worldwide, we cannot abandon our values; we must defend them. Each of our countries around the Security Council today has felt the impact of terrorism or violent extremism. Our citizens have been attacked. Our cities have been threatened. And those threats, unfortunately, will continue. But our determination to protect our people and our common humanity is greater than those who seek to harm us. So I think if we are smart and thorough in our approach and continue our work together, we can reduce and eventually end the threat of terrorism. And I thank again both the Secretary General and particularly my colleagues for pulling us together to talk about this today.