H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative
[At the media stakeout just now, one of the questions we were asked was how much Member State interest there would be in this subject, and I think from the good attendance in the room this afternoon, it is clear there is a quite lot of interest on the subject, which is what we told our press colleagues.]
Good afternoon, Martin, Excellencies, colleagues,
I would like to thank you on behalf of Ambassador Kimani for all joining this Arria-formula meeting, which the UAE is pleased to co-host with our Kenyan partners. And I would like to welcome all of you, Member States, the PRs I can see in the room, DPRs, Observers, experts, and the distinguished briefers we have gathered together for this panel today. We really look forward to your contributions to this important discussion.
Twenty years ago, the September 11 attacks galvanized the Security Council into confronting a terrorist threat which had long plagued countries across the world. That commitment has since shaped the development of the international framework to prevent and counter terrorism.
We have seen in all our countries and our regions – and we have sadly experienced – how none of us are immune from this evolving and insidious threat. Since our vulnerabilities to terrorism are clearly shared, so, too, is our responsibility for the development of a truly comprehensive and inclusive counter-terrorism framework.
In organizing this meeting, Kenya and the UAE aim to shed light on the changing ways in which terrorism threatens countless lives and livelihoods in the Middle East and Africa. Indeed, just this month, the Al-Shabaab terrorist group laid siege to the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu in an attack that killed 30 people and left 117 injured. Our objective is to widen the scope of this conversation and advance a more integrated and representative response.
We know we have made significant strides in enhancing global cooperation, building capacity, and developing effective counterterrorism strategies and tactics.
But to maintain and grow this momentum, we must remain vigilant in identifying and responding to deficiencies to the clear deficiencies that exist in the framework. For example, we continue to observe how terrorist groups are able to exploit gaps allowing them to conduct transnational activities leveraging new and emerging technologies, such as uncrewed aerial systems—UAS, commonly known as drones. Advanced drone technology enhances the capacity of terrorists to conduct reconnaissance and target civilians with devastating attacks, including across state borders, while the projection of sophisticated capability is exploited for propaganda and recruitment purposes. While drones are increasingly effective counter-terrorism tools, it is urgent that we catch up to the reality of their deployment by terrorist groups. In our view, the Security Council is well-equipped and well-positioned to contribute to closing the gaps in our international response to this deeply alarming development.
A rise in the terrorist use of drones is a cross-regional challenge. We see it in East Africa where Al-Shabaab, operating from Somalia, continues to expand its lethal reach in the country but also beyond, across borders. Al-Shabaab’s targeting of neighboring countries, including Kenya, underscores the complex threat to international peace and security that the group poses. The Middle East has also suffered the transnational menace of terrorist groups. Da’esh has substantially increased its UAS arsenal. The Houthi terrorist group has launched numerous cross-border attacks using UAS and missiles on civilians and civilian infrastructure targeting airports, oil refineries, and shipping routes that are a gateway for global trade, including the 17th of January terrorist attacks on Abu Dhabi which resulted in the deaths of three civilians.
So, meeting the growing severity of the threat of transnational terrorist activity necessarily entails finding ways to address the risks posed by new and emerging technologies such as UAS. But the Council must also reflect on and rectify its two-track approach to counter-terrorism. The Council, by virtue of the architecture, persists in focusing on Al-Qaida and Da’esh while neglecting other terrorist groups, even while the international community has recognized them as such in resolutions. We need a deeper conversation about the effective establishment and implementation of measures to combat terrorism, including consideration of how to properly address the humanitarian impacts of counter-terrorism measures. We really hope that today’s meeting can kick-start such a discussion and inform the Security Council’s and the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s considerations moving forward, including the CTC’s forthcoming special meeting on new and emerging technology that will be held in India.
We look forward to hearing the recommendations from our briefers, Member States, Permanent Observers, and all stakeholders, and thank you for joining us today.
I’ll turn it over to Ambassador Kimani.