Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at the Security Council briefing on the 10th report of the Secretary-General on threats to international peace and security posed by ISIL
We thank Mr.Voronkov and Ms.Coninsx for the in-depth analysis of the situation in the area of countering ISIL. We would like to reiterate our support for the activity of the mechanisms under your lead and for your projects and initiatives at the counter-terrorism track. We thank Ms.Freij for her speech.
We share assessments that the Secretary-General gives to the ISIL-posed threat. Members of this terrorist organization keep their positions in Syria and Iraq, where they have transformed into a broad underground network; they also enhance capacity in other regions – Afghanistan, Western Africa, Lake Chad basin; and try to penetrate Asia-Pacific and take root there.
“ISIL-Khorasan” remains a key factor of degradation of the situation in Afghanistan. Activity of ISIL in Afghanistan is also maintained by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) who have received combat experience in Syria and Iraq. The lasting presence of the group in this country means there is a threat of terrorist activity spreading to the Central Asian states. We see it as a priority task to extend the Security Council sanctions regime to individuals and entities that are either part of or directly affiliated with the Afghan wing of ISIL.
Terrorist activity of ISIL in Libya also poses a threat. The situation is aggravated by the relocation of militants from Syria’s Idlib governorate to Libya. Without normalizing the situation in this country it is almost impossible to stabilize the situation with security in the region. We are already “reaping the fruit” of Libya’s ruined statehood in Western Africa and the Sahara-Sahel.
The SG report addresses the problem of Al-Howl camp in Syria and the dire status of people there. We stated on many occasions, and we are ready to repeat this - wherever the sovereignty of Syria is violated, there is and there can be no order. Without interaction with the local authorities neither anti-terrorist, nor humanitarian, nor human rights issues can be solved.
We are convinced that efforts of the global community must be aimed at prevention of ISIL recovery or establishment on its debris of another driving force of the “terrorist internationale”. In this regard, we support the work of the UN and its specialized agencies, i.a. in the area of countering terrorist and extremist propaganda, and financing of terrorism.
Unfortunately, we still see attempts to “flirt” with terrorists and use them for specific geopolitical purposes. We believe this approach is irresponsible and pernicious. Such games entail dire situations in concrete countries, violations of human rights and freedoms that one usually thinks about once the tragedy has happened, and there are thousands of victims.
Yesterday at the UNSC meeting we addressed in detail the reasons for the recent outburst of activity of 'Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’. We looked at facts and figures. I mean the double-checked and verified ones. The ones registered by Russia’s military presence in Syria. Without any doubt, those threats that have emerged will be eliminated.
As of today, the global community is facing another acute problem - what to do with foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and their family members? We are convinced that justice should be administered to terrorists in national jurisdictions and base on principles of inevitability of punishment and its being commensurate with the crime committed. International cooperation in this area should develop against the background of uncompromising adherence to universal anti-terrorism strategies, i.a. to the principle “extradite or prosecute” embodied therein.
Russia has been consistently speaking up against granting various groups with the right to guard the militant custody areas and, by far, to decide their fate.
Unfortunately, some countries withdraw from solving the issue with holding accountable their citizens who sided with terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Patronage, and connivance against the backdrop of impunity - this is what empowers terrorists. We see it happen in Idlib today.
Family members of FTFs who are illegitimately present at the territory of Syria and Iraq, and that are not suspected of affiliation with terrorist activity, must be repatriated to the countries of their nationality as soon as possible. Terrorists must be duly punished.
We believe the SG report on the threat posed by ISIL should not shift focus from the problems of terrorists’ recharge with personnel, material and financial assets, and arms. The document under discussion today mentions the issues of deliveries of military purpose products to terrorist organizations only in passing. At the same time, terrorist groups in the Middle East and in Africa continue to receive arms from external sponsors. We call upon all responsible states to immediately curb all illicit channels of arms deliveries, and not to “feed up” radical elements on the pretext of assisting all sorts of “moderate opposition”.