Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
I would like to thank Ambassador Frazier, Ambassador Montalvo Sosa, and Ambassador Nusseibeh for their briefings of the Da’esh/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1540 Committee, and the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
The United Arab Emirates has benefited a great deal from its time as Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, particularly with the current trajectory and evolution of the terrorism threat being a cause for deep concern for all of us.
The figures in the Sahel reveal the scale of the threat: of the global total last year, terrorism-related deaths in the Sahel constituted 43%. That’s compared with just 1% in 2007.
Terrorist groups are able to take advantage of conflicts, deteriorating economic conditions, and security vacuums in ungoverned spaces.
Against this backdrop, I want to emphasize four points.
First, we cannot overstate the importance of addressing the root causes that allow the proliferation of terrorism.
Addressing them, and by doing so preventing terrorism from taking hold in the first instance, must be our number one priority.
Good governance, sustainable development, securing basic services, and the wholesale rejection of intolerance will contribute to countering the threat of terrorism.
That is why the UAE and the UK co-penned Security Council resolution 2686 on ‘Tolerance, peace and security’, adopted unanimously this year, which recognized for the first time that the issues of hate speech, racism, and extremism can contribute to the outbreak, escalation, and recurrence of conflict.
It calls on States and stakeholders to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence and encourages preventive, comprehensive, and whole-of-society approaches to addressing hate speech and intolerance.
Through the resolution, the UN has now been mandated to monitor and report on the implementation of its provisions across its system.
We urge that all relevant stakeholders assist with the implementation of this resolution.
Second, we must strengthen international cooperation.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel; mechanisms already exist, but by further developing and enhancing coordination, we have the chance to strengthen the counter-terrorism framework.
This includes the importance of Member States exchanging information on terrorist groups such as Da’esh and Al-Qaeda and effectively sanctioning those who meet the listing criteria.
That coordination should also encompass how we refer to terrorist groups. Words matter. And so we should avoid the use of self-prescribed names for terrorist groups that offer them the semblance of legitimacy, such as “Islamic State” or “ISIL”. The UAE uses “Da’esh” wherever possible because it avoids language that makes a connection between those who seek to spread terror and unaffiliated, peace-loving members of a religious community.
As such, we have submitted a proposal to amend the current references to seven entities designated under the Da’esh/Al-Qaida sanctions regime.
Third, we cannot ignore the emerging trend of the exploitation of new technologies.
While we benefit from the rapid technological advances in our everyday lives, terrorist groups also have access to new tools to radicalize and recruit others, to spur on violence and hate, and to use these new technologies to facilitate or commit acts of terrorism.
We therefore welcome the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s focus on the exploitation of artificial intelligence and information communication technologies for terrorist purposes.
Current negotiations on the first set of non-binding guiding principles for Member States on countering the use of unmanned aircraft systems for terrorist purposes are encouraging and we look forward to their adoption by members of the Committee.
Fourth, there is a growing urgency to restore the 1540 Committee’s Group of Experts to its full strength by appointing experts to fill the six vacancies.
Ambassador Pérez Loose, the Chair of the Committee, has our full support to resolve this matter as swiftly as possible and to ensure the effective functioning of the 1540 Committee.
We welcome the Committee’s efforts to improve the mechanism for assisting States to implement resolution 1540, including to update working procedures for responding to requests for assistance.
The corrosive and unrelenting nature of terrorism in the world must be met with equal determination to prevent and counter it.
The UAE commends the collective efforts of the three committees that contribute to countering terrorism, and we will continue to work closely with all who endeavor to do so.
Thank you, Mr. President.