Delivered By: Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth
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At the outset, I would like to join my colleagues in expressing our sincere condolences to Your Excellency, Simon Coveney, and to the family of the Irish Peacekeeper who was killed today in a callous attack while on duty in southern Lebanon. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
I thank the Republic of India for organizing this important discussion on the international community’s approach to combating terrorism. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Voronkov, and Acting Executive Director, Mr. Chen, for their valuable briefings. I have also listened to the moving briefing by Ms. Anjali Vijay Kulthe.
Over the past two decades, and through this Organization, we have enacted many polices and measures to address the threat that terrorists pose to international peace and security. Most notably, this includes the historic adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 in response to one of this era’s gravest challenges that undermines stability as well as prosperity. Despite the international community’s robust efforts, international terrorist threats has been able to evolve and spread through the use of advanced methods and complex tactics. Terrorist groups continue to exploit natural resources to finance their operations and use modern technology to launch cross-border terrorist attacks. The terrorist threat has also escalated by leveraging the absence of state authority in many regions, and the loss of international focus due to shifting priorities and emerging crises.
We have made great strides towards strengthening international cooperation, building capacities, and developing effective strategies as well as the means to combat terrorism. However, we also realize that there is still a long way to go to eradicate terrorism. Therefore, it is vital to strengthen international momentum and remain vigilant in identifying and addressing shortcomings and preventing the exploitation of gaps. We also must be more flexible to keep pace with the evolving methods of terrorist groups, and indeed be proactive to prevent extremism and terrorism.
These concerns point to the importance of our discussion today. I would like to highlight three main aspects that demand attention:
First, the geographical scope of terrorist activities is expanding. Recent UN reports indicate that, like others, Africa has not been spared from the repercussions of this scourge the African continent has not been spared, like others, from the repercussions of this scourge. Nearly half of the victims of terrorism in the world last year were in Africa, where terrorist groups seek a breeding ground. Therefore, it is no longer acceptable for the Council to focus on certain terrorist groups to the exclusion of others, especially considering the transnational nature of terrorist threats. Thus, it is imperative to harness all the tools available to the Council, including sanctions committees, to curb the activities of terrorist groups. Additionally, regional and local efforts must be supported, and coordination with actors, as well as women and youth, must be intensified.
Second, terrorists use sophisticated means and methods. Terrorist groups have proven their ability to exploit technological advances, including drones and digital currencies, to achieve their goals. Accordingly, the Delhi Declaration on Combating the Use of New and Emerging Technologies for Terrorist Purposes represents an important step – upon which we look forward to bridging gaps and developing solid regulatory frameworks for the participation of governments and the private sector at the local and global level.
Third, confronting terrorism requires the development of comprehensive and multilateral strategies that focus on the prevention of extremism. We will not be able to eradicate terrorism without exposing extremist ideologies that fuel violence and hatred as well as incite killing and destruction. Therefore, we must protect our societies from extremism and address its root causes.
The UAE has committed to work through a comprehensive framework to counter extremism that included rejected all attempts to distort and exploit Islam. Therefore, it was important to raise awareness on how the values of tolerance, co-existence, and diversity, are inherent in Islamic culture. Public and private UAE institutions, have launched numerous initiatives, in cooperation with partners in the region and around the world, to eliminate extremism sustainably.
One clear example is the “Human Fraternity Conference” hosted by the UAE. The conference resulted in the signing of the “Human Fraternity Document for World Peace and Coexistence” by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Ahmed Al-Tayeb, to catalyze dialogue on coexistence and fraternity among people, and to promote these values globally. The designation of 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity represents an annual opportunity to promote pluralism and cultural diversity.
This week we host the “Forum of Religions of the Group of Twenty,” demonstrating the UAE’s vision of an integrated global framework for tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and diversity, by presenting the recommendations of approximately one hundred leaders of various religious communities to the leaders of the New Delhi summit in 2023 to achieve a world with more solidarity and peace.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
The presidential statement that we are adopting today confirms that terrorism remains at the top of Council’s priorities. As Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee next year, the UAE will build on the achievements of India’s presidency this year. We will continue to cooperate with our colleagues to strengthen the Committee’s capacities in implementing its mandate, in light of the evolution in the international terrorist threat, with an aim of achieving security, stability, and prosperity for all our societies, wherever they may be.
Thank you, Mr. President.