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Ambassador Rice at U.N. Security Council on Counterterrorism

15 January 2013

January 15, 2013


Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At a Security Council Briefing on Counterterrorism, January 15, 2013

Thank you, Madame President, and thank you for convening this very important meeting. Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, as well for your briefing and your presence here today. I would like to express again our deepest condolences for the horrific attacks in Pakistan last week that killed more than 100 people. The United States stands with the Pakistani people in strongly condemning these senseless and inhumane acts, which, unfortunately, remind us that the scourge of terrorism remains with us all. And so, we very much appreciate Pakistan drawing the Council's attention back to this critical issue.

Reflecting on the past decade, the Security Council’s sustained commitment to counterterrorism has been significant. We have continued to promote a holistic approach to combating terrorism, strengthening counterterrorism efforts at the national, regional and international levels.

Madame President, we cannot grow complacent. Even as core of Al-Qaida has experienced major setbacks, it survives and continues to threaten us all. Moreover, its affiliates and other violent extremist groups pose grave dangers. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a significant international threat. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Shabaab continue to sow instability and exploit safe havens in Mali, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, destabilizing societies and obstructing the delivery of vital humanitarian relief to millions in need. Elements of Boko Haram in Nigeria have launched multiple deadly attacks, including against the United Nations. And transnational terrorist groups remain active in North Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere. The resilience of terrorist networks underscores that long-term, diplomatic and economic initiatives, as well as international cooperation, are, as always, indispensible.

While we have made progress together, terrorist groups continue to adapt, evolving into criminal entrepreneurs, engaging in trafficking and other illicit activities to finance their operations. AQIM, for example, has increasingly used kidnapping for ransom to support its organization and finance terrorist attacks. Kidnapping for ransom is not only horrific for the victims and their families but represents a serious threat to international peace and security that will likely continue to pose a significant challenge in the years ahead. The international community must do much more to combat this scourge.

With the terrorist threat ever more diffuse, the need for a strategic and comprehensive approach to counterterrorism has never been greater. The United States recognizes that force, while necessary, is not nearly sufficient to counter the threat effectively over the long-term. We must also prioritize building state capacity, strengthening good governance and civilian institutions, promoting economic development and job creation, countering extremism, and reducing the appeal of violence and the pipeline of terrorist recruits so that Member States and their citizens are better equipped to tackle threats within their borders and regions.

At the same time, the United States has intensified our capacity-building assistance to help countries secure their borders, thwart attacks, prosecute terrorists and those who abet them, and neutralize extremism and its root causes. We have trained more than 9,800 law enforcement officials from over fifty countries in the last year alone. U.S. Legal Advisors are working with host country governments worldwide to build justice sector capacity to deal with terrorism. Our Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership has provided several countries in the Sahel and the Maghreb with training and support to tighten border security, promote economic assistance, disrupt terrorist networks, and prevent attacks. By assembling civilian, criminal justice, and military experts, this program pursues a comprehensive approach to counterterrorism. In addition, we established the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications to confront and rebut Al-Qaida and extremist propaganda online.

Madame President, the United States values its partnership with the United Nations on counterterrorism, and our cooperation has produced results. For example, since effective prison management and good correctional practices can reduce the risk of radicalization, the United States has worked with the United Nation’s Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute to develop the Rome Good Practices on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders. We look forward to close cooperation between the United Nations and the new Hedayah Center of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi that will assist experts to develop tools for countering extremist ideology and blunting the spread of radicalism.

Strengthening cooperation at the UN and other multilateral organizations and ensuring that the necessary architecture is in place to address terrorism in the 21st century remains central to our approach. The United Nations has worked actively to build consensus around a global counterterrorism strategy and deliver technical assistance to strengthen capacities worldwide. The UN has a critical role to play as a forum for advancing collective action against terrorism. The United States welcomes the Secretary-General’s initiative to appoint a UN Counterterrorism Coordinator and unify the United Nation’s counterterrorism architecture so that expertise and resources are deployed as efficiently as possible. We hope for even deeper cooperation between the United Nations and the Global Counterterrorism Forum in the coming year as the Forum promotes the implementation of its framework documents on rule of law, prisons, and preventing kidnapping for ransom. And we look forward to working in the Security Council and with Member States to further strengthen implementation of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime.

A key lesson of the past decade is the significant value that civil society can add to counterterrorism efforts. Victims and victims’ associations, for example, have played important roles in preventing terrorism. We encourage all relevant United Nations actors to intensify engagement with and support for civil society on counterterrorism objectives and combating violent extremism.

No single country, no one organization, nor any particular tactic or tool alone can neutralize the threat of terrorism. Only a comprehensive approach bolstered by our shared determination, our continued cooperation, and expanding partnerships can ultimately end the threat of global terrorism.

Thank you, Madam President.