Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN

We express our frustration and outrage at the recent Statement by the Permanent Mission of the United States dated 27 June on the occasion of the UN High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies (28-29 June).

United States officials from the very beginning believed that the historic decision of the UN Secretary-General to bring together the heads of national antiterrorism agencies and his call for a new counter-terrorism partnership were an infringement upon the imaginary “leadership” of the U.S. Since they failed to turn United Nations around its finger, U.S. officials went from intrigues and blackmail to insults and provocations.

We would like to highlight the two major fraudulent elements of the Statement. First of all, according to it, the organizer of the event, United Nations Office of Counterterrorism (UNOCT) allegedly made the “unprecedented and indefensible” decision to exclude civil society from some of the most important meetings at the Conference. Secondly, the U.S. Mission has again found a “hand of Moscow” – the UN Secretariat is claimed to be under pressure from “a handful of nefarious countries with no credibility on countering terrorism”. Russia, Syria, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela made it to the shortlist. The U.S. dared to include Russia, Syria and Iran - the countries standing in the front line of the fight against terrorism.

In fact, following the initiative of A.Guterres the UNOCT has been preparing the first “summit” of heads of competent agencies of Member States in the UN history well in advance and announced its format in the mid-May. U.S. response, therefore, was a month too late. The intention was to establish, under the auspices of the UN, a depoliticized platform for heads of law-enforcement agencies and intelligence services to meet the practical objectives in counter terrorism. The United States with the support of a few ordinary allies proposed to engage the civil society in the discussion on cooperation between intelligence services, exchange of confidential information, interception of terrorist fighters and criminal justice. Not only Russia, but also a large number of other States which know about the fight against terrorists from their own experience considered that as nonsense. We would like to ask our U.S. colleagues, Do CIA, FBI and NSA often consult with representatives of civil society? Do they discuss operational plans with them? Maybe these agencies are controlled by advisory boards, comprised of representatives of civil society?

The decision of the UN Secretariat to preserve (rather than change) the closed format of these sessions and to invite NGOs and private actors to participate in the second day of the Conference seemed to be the only feasible compromise.

However, the U.S. doesn’t like compromises, even reasonable ones.

The U.S. delegation threatened to downgrade the level of its participation in the Conference. U.S. representatives could consider completely refraining from participation if they are not eager to fight against terrorism collectively. Although they need it like other members of international community, not less.