Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

World

Streamlining counter-terrorism efforts priority for UN

By Rudaw 15/9/2017
Miroslav Lajcak, centre, president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, opens the first meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, and Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Catherine Pollard, right, on September 12. Photo: Kim Haughton/UN
Miroslav Lajcak, centre, president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, opens the first meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, and Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Catherine Pollard, right, on September 12. Photo: Kim Haughton/UN
UNITED NATIONS, New York — Streamlining the UN’s counter-terrorism portfolio is of significance for the United Nations, according to Miroslav Lajcak, who took his oath this week to become the new UN General Assembly President.

The 72nd UN General Assembly Session officially opened on September 12, but general debate will start on Tuesday, September 19. 

Rudaw’s correspondent in New York asked Lajcak about what is on the assembly’s agenda with respect to counter-terrorism and the war in Syria at a press conference on Thursday. The conflict began in 2011 and has become a counter-terrorism fight as much as it is a traditional civil war with clearly demarcated rebels and loyalists.

Lajcak pointed out that the UN Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov of Russia, who took the post in June, will prioritize the effort to unify the UN’s counter-terrorism entities.

“One of his priority tasks will be to streamline the work of the UN agencies dealing with counter-terrorism,” said Lajcak. “You might know that there are 38 different agencies that have counter-terrorism as part of their portfolio, so his ambition is to streamline that effort. And we are here and I personally stand here ready to support him in his effort.”

He did not go into detail about what the efforts would entail, however.

A key function of the UN’s counter-terror office is to ensure the issue is prioritized across the UN, including preventing violent extremism as the organization assists member states in their own efforts.

In a July report looking into the reasons why individual groups join terrorist organizations, the UN’s counter-terror office spoke with foreign fighters who had gone to Syria. The report found that many of the young men who went to Syria to fight with terror groups were socially and economically disadvantaged in their home countries, often without advanced education.

Religious belief “played a minimal role” in motivating the foreign fighters interviewed for the report, but “empathy” with Syrian Sunni communities was a common reason cited for traveling to the country. 

Most left Syria because of disillusionment or disappointment with what they found in the country. 

Among the conclusions reached in the report, the counter-terror office stressed that no country can deal with the threat of foreign terror fighters alone, but a coordinated effort was needed and one that did not rely on military means alone. 

The Slovakian Lajcak also expressed hope that they will be able to build on progress made with respect to Syria in the General Assembly’s previous session, “including of course the thorough investigation of war crimes that were committed.”

In August, former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte announced she was resigning from the UN’s independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria because of a failure of the Security Council to hold criminals accountable in Syria. 

"I give up. The states in the Security Council don't want justice," Del Ponte said in comments published by Swiss magazine Blick. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

She said Assad’s government is committing crimes against humanity and using chemical weapons and the opposition is made up of “extremists and terrorists.”

The commission was established in August 2011 by the Human Rights Council to investigate crimes in Syria. 

In December, the UN General Assembly voted to set up an investigative body to help document crimes and prepare legal cases with the possibility of prosecution of the most serious violations in Syria’s deadly, drawn-out war. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Syria needs “a lot of attention of the international community,” noting that fighting continues, including against terrorism on multiple fronts, without a political solution in sight. 

“And I think that there is a risk of fragmentation in Syria that is very important to take into account,” he said at a press conference in UN headquarters on Thursday.

Guterres expressed hope for progress in talks in Geneva and Astana, but said it was important “for international peace and security” that the United States and Russia maintain a “positive and constructive relationship.”

The world’s problems would be easier to solve if the US and Russia worked together, he said. 

3566 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Zagros | 7/20/2018 5:27:06 AM
Pete, if you had traveled the world as you claim then you'd have known that Rojava is not the most egalitarian system in the world. You'd have known...
Outsider | 7/21/2018 4:36:24 AM
The PKK/KCK/PYD/YPG reminds me on the political system in the "good old" Communist countries... yes you have a choice.. hence claiming demo...
Assad or Turkey? Uncertainty surrounds future of Qamishli
| 17/7/2018 | (13)
Shaxawan | 7/18/2018 7:35:12 AM
All what US gave us is some scraps whike they support Irani militias and Sunna Arabs with the most developed weapons. Shame on you US, still seeks...
Robert Patrick Shuttlesworth | 7/21/2018 3:33:58 AM
My fellow Americans, why are we allowing our leaders to ask permission to form Kurdish security forces, from some of the very people the Kurds have...
US to arm two more Peshmerga brigades – if Baghdad permits it
| 16/7/2018 | (4)
Mohamedzzz | 7/19/2018 5:39:19 PM
''A deal was reached Tuesday between regime-backer Russia and rebel-ally Turkey''... I always said Turkey 'IS' the problem, Problems cannot be solved...
kurd | 7/21/2018 2:21:45 AM
Mohammaedzzz@ you have always been wrong. the main problem for kurds is PKK+YPG. they are cancerous cell on body of kurdistan. they are in service...
Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns
| yesterday at 05:05 | (3)
Dlawar | 7/20/2018 10:33:10 PM
The regime is often described is smart or shrwed but they're not, even dumber are the nationalists who are against the regime but happily applaud...
Family says execution of Kurdish prisoner in Iran is imminent
| 13 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns yesterday at 05:05 | (3)

Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns

A deal was reached Tuesday between regime-backer more
Turkey’s state of emergency ends, but crackdown fears remain yesterday at 03:30 | (1)

Turkey’s state of emergency ends, but crackdown fears remain

"Government appears determined to continue the more
0.578 seconds