Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at UNSC briefing on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts
We thank USG Voronkov and Executive Director Weixiong Chen for their briefings on the activity of UN mechanisms under their lead, that are focused on countering ISIL.
Issues of combating terrorism must always remain depoliticized. By their very nature, they build a unifying agenda. Such evil as the international terrorism can only be defeated if we act together.
We must not let the international legal anti-terrorist framework be shattered and the main tasks of countering terrorism and extremism eroded. No views that are based on false theories and rules must be imposed on anyone.
Russian approaches are well established, and we have been consistently implementing them. Among our key priorities are the recognition of the leading role of states and their competent bodies in countering terrorism and extremism, prevention of justification of any manifestations of terrorism, ensuring inevitability of criminal and legal responsibility for terrorists and their accomplices. We must safeguard the central coordinating role of the United Nations in international cooperation, uphold universal norms and principles of international law.
The Middle East and North Africa remain at the epicenter, from which terrorism is spreading to other regions, including the entire African continent. We all have been warning of this danger for quite some time. Each subsequent report of the Secretary-General on the threat of ISIL states the degradation of the situation and the expansion of the scale and geography of terrorist activities.
African states fall short on resources that they need to maintain security, and encounter difficulties when implementing obligatory provisions of resolutions on counter-terrorism.
For Africa, the merging of pseudo-Islamic ideology and terrorist narrative with religious, ethnic, social and political contradictions is quite characteristic. The consequences of the colonial and neo-colonial policies of Western states also play into the hands of terrorists. They do not shy away from stoking various long-standing conflicts and keeping those afloat with only one goal – continue eviscerating Africa’s mineral wealth for their own enrichment. Little has changed over centuries, because colonialism still has to be eradicated. We realize the real reasons for Western hysterical assaults of stakeholders, who work effectively to restore order and stabilize the situation in Africa upon request and in close cooperation with national authorities on the continent.
By the way, it is not only African natural resources that are being pillaged. The West continues to plunder the natural resources, in particular oil, as well as priceless cultural heritage of the part of Syria under the US and NATO occupation, that has also been seriously affected by terrorism. They have mastered this scheme for centuries.
We are well aware of the difficulties that African states face when fulfilling their obligations. Those of them who were not lucky enough to get rid of the Western military presence are in the most vulnerable position. The distinguished Permanent Representative of France mentioned the activities of Wagner company. We see that the French delegation is disappointed by the fact that Sahelian states, one after another, refuse to cooperate with France and its military in the area of ensuring security. But can we blame African states that they take the matter in their own hands and independently decide with whom and on what conditions they will cooperate.
Due to France’s failures in the Sahel, we see an increase in radical sentiment in that part of Africa, which terrorist and extremist organizations eagerly make use of. Countries of the Sahel realize the futility and even harmfulness of the French presence, and turn to those who are really capable of recovering order while maintaining equal relations with them. We will continue providing this sort of bilateral assistance.
We suggest that the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council and its Executive Directorate focus on African states and try to conduct assessment visits as a matter of priority. This will not only help to identify problems. Subsequently, the targeted recommendations of country-specific reports could form the basis for technical assistance programs. It will take political will, a responsible approach and close cooperation of the African states with the CTC in order for this technical assistance to become successful and bear fruit.
In the regional and global context, we are also concerned by the situation in Afghanistan, where international terrorist organizations (ISIL-Khorasan in the first place) build up capacity, and from where terrorist activity may spill over to neighboring countries.
The main reason for the current crisis was the military intervention by the US and allies that had a most destabilizing effect not only on Afghanistan, but entire region. Over the 20 years that the United States and its NATO allies spent in Afghanistan, the terrorist threat has but increased. This being said, the outcomes of this inglorious campaign, including war crimes committed by American and NATO military are being carefully silenced down.
Once again, we have to point at the issue of terrorists getting hold of weapons. Secretary-General’s report only mentions this problem in passing. Most importantly, the report does not cite sources. But how arms find a way to terrorists is no mystery – through criminal networks or directly from those who provide huge volumes of weapons in order to maintain and ignite conflicts. For example, considerable stocks of weapons and hardware that the US and NATO left behind when retreating from Afghanistan have long been used by terrorists in South Asia. Some of it went to ISIL militants in Afghanistan itself. Weapons that Western states send to the Kiev regime in huge quantities are already being discovered in possession of criminal groups in Europe and even terrorists in Africa. Evidence is plentiful.
Terrorist activities by ISIL, Al-Qaida, and affiliated groups is the main threat to international security. Terrorists keep adjusting their tactics, widely use ICTs not only for financing their criminal activities, but also for spreading their ideology and plotting attacks. This is a universal problem that requires well-coordinated inter-state prevention mechanisms. In this respect, exclusive “international partnerships” that bypass the existing inter-state platforms, including the United Nations, are unacceptable.
We welcome efforts made last year by India in its capacity as Chair of the CTC, thanks to which the Delhi Declaration was elaborated to counter the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
Russia will continue developing close cooperation on issues pertaining to counter-terrorism with truly interested international partners, while taking into account their national expertise and specifics. We call on states to not allow effective international mechanisms for anti-terrorism and anti-extremism cooperation to be undermined, and to focus on collective tasks at this track that are our real priorities.