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15 January 2013 - Security Council - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism

(UN translation)


I thank the Pakistani presidency of the Security Council for organizing today’s debate focused on the fight against terrorism.

I align my delegation with the statement to be made by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union. As Pakistan was the victim last week of several terrorist attacks, particularly in Quetta, which resulted in more than 100 deaths, I very much want to express France’s solidarity with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. Those recent attacks are a sad reminder of the brutality and fanaticism of terrorists.

Terrorism has evolved, but it continues more than ever to be a serious threat to international peace and security. The international community must today confront a loose conglomeration of local organizations that claim to follow Al-Qaida and whose presence endangers the security and development of entire regions, especially in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa. We know that terrorist groups take advantage of regional weaknesses to create safe havens for themselves, which can become base camps from which to target neighbouring States or can become hotbeds of international terrorism. The emergence of such zones, where trafficking of all kinds fuels terrorism, represents a very concrete threat and can lead to putting the very existence of a State in danger.

In resolution 2085 (2012), the Council underlined the urgency of the situation in northern Mali, which is a threat to the Malian population and to the stability of the Sahel, of Africa and of the entire international community. As members know, since that resolution’s adoption the threat has become clear, and France responded to the call from the Malian authorities for assistance in facing it.

The Council has not ceased to reaffirm that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security. Resolution 1368 (2001), of 12 September 2001, already affirmed that. It is affirmed again in the draft presidential statement to be adopted later today. In confronting the threat, the international community must display unity and solidarity. To fight terrorism in a comprehensive manner and to avoid the emergence of lawless areas conducive to the development of terrorism, it is essential that the international community commit to effectively implementing existing mechanisms and adopt longterm strategies.

First, the effective implementation of international instruments and the strengthening of international cooperation are essential to fight terrorism comprehensively. The United Nations has made possible the establishment of a legal framework in this area. The body of United Nations conventions and protocols define the universal obligations to fight terrorism, and we must continue to insist on their full implementation. The relevant Council resolutions have also established obligations in the matter, covering a wide range of issues that range from combating incitement to commit terrorist acts, and against financing such acts, to the use of sanctions.

Beyond the establishment of that legal framework, the United Nations has made possible stronger international cooperation, especially through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which aims to coordinate existing mechanisms and to strengthen cooperation among States and organizations. That strengthened cooperation applies in several types of measures that enable the United Nations to take a comprehensive approach in the fight against terrorism, by addressing the causes — eliminating the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism — by helping States fight terrorism through building their capacity, and by putting in place measures to ensure respect for human rights in the anti-terrorist fight. Such efforts must be pursued.

Lastly, the fight against terrorism must be integrated into more comprehensive, long-term strategies. From that perspective, it is essential to put in place security policies to combat the fragility of States, which is often a factor in creating conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. But those security policies must be accompanied by programmes to encourage development and good governance. It is therefore necessary for the international community to provide assistance designed to strengthen State governance and institutional capacity — for example, by establishing regional strategies. That is the approach employed by the European Union, whose strategy for the Sahel includes a security component and a development component.

Strengthening capacities and promoting the rule of law are two essential components for a longterm approach in the fight against terrorism. States threatened by the activity of terrorist groups should be able to benefit from political and operational cooperation among States, especially at the regional level. For instance, France is participating in the setting up of judicial anti-terrorism hubs in Mauritania and the Niger and encouraging training for judges, for it is essential that those States have the means to judge and sentence terrorists, while respecting human rights. While a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism can sometimes require exceptional measures, it must also be part of a long-term strategy.


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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU