Statement by H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan, Chairman of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, at the NATO Council

Ertuğrul Apakan 09.12.2010
Mr. Chairman,

I am very pleased to be here at the NATO Headquarters and address the Council, as the Chairman of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The timing of my visit could not have been better. It is just after the adoption of NATO’s new Strategic Concept, which underscores the determination of NATO to deepen political dialogue and practical cooperation with the United Nations.

In a world characterized by complex and multifaceted challenges to international peace and security, it is only natural that we need better cooperation and coordination among the relevant international, regional and sub-regional actors. The Counter-Terrorism Committee, which I chair since the beginning of this year, places particular emphasis on increasing its cooperation and dialogue with relevant international and regional organizations.

So far, I have visited the Organization of American States in Washington and the African Union in Addis Ababa to discuss counter-terrorism matters. In New York, the Committee organized a meeting in June at the UN with the participation of 4 regional organizations, namely the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, the League of Arab States, the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism and the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa. This year, we have heard briefings from the Head of the Working Group of the Meeting of Heads of Special Services, the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator of the European Union and the Chairman of Financial Action Task Force of South America (GAFISUD). All these meetings provided the Committee with more insights about the achievements and challenges on the ground. Now, the Committee plans to organize its next special meeting with international, regional and sub-regional organizations in the Council of Europe on prevention of terrorism.

As regards NATO, I believe the Joint Declaration signed between the UN and NATO Secretariats in 2008 constitutes a sound conceptual framework for a strengthened partnership between the UN and NATO. Of course, the actual cooperation between the two organizations dates back to a much earlier period.

The CTC is conscious of the important role that NATO plays in the field of counter-terrorism. Indeed, the work you are doing operationally in many parts of the world, in Afghanistan, in the Mediterranean, in South-East Europe and off the Horn of Africa, to mention only a few places, is critical. We commend and value these contributions and efforts by NATO.

The recent creation of the new Emerging Security Challenges Division in the NATO International Staff, which is addressing the growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges the Alliance members face, including terrorism, was an important development. I was also interested to see that the Group of Experts advising on the new Strategic Concept have recommended that NATO’s Defence Against Terrorism Programme be expanded to include collaborative research on areas such as investigative techniques, deterrence and social networking. These are very much the topics that national counter-terrorism authorities are spending more time on.

Mr. Chairman,

As you are all aware, the United Nations condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purpose. Terrorism is a serious threat to international peace and security, the enjoyment of human rights, the social and economic development of all States, and undermines global stability and prosperity.

The United Nations has a sound legal basis in the field of counter-terrorism. Through conventions, resolutions and other documents, different UN bodies constantly reinforce the message that terrorism is a threat to all Member States and should be tackled in a common and determined manner. Due to its global membership, the UN gives a legitimacy to the fight against terrorism that no other body can. That provides a platform for regional organizations and national agencies, including NATO, to be able to do their work in different parts of the world.

The CTC is tasked primarily with monitoring United Nations Member States’ implementation of Security Council resolution 1373. Adopted unanimously by the Security Council in 2001 pursuant to Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations, the resolution is binding upon all Member States. It requests States to implement a number of measures to combat terrorist activities at home, in their regions and around the world. The CTC is not a sanctions committee, like the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee.

We believe that full and effective implementation of the measures by all Member States and cooperation at international and regional levels are of critical importance. In order to better monitor and promote States’ implementation of the measures, the Committee has adopted a more strategic and focused approach early this year.

In light of this approach, we have held detailed thematic discussions during the last one year on key areas indicated in relevant resolutions of the Security Council to better understand the evolving nature of terrorism and how to better address it. In September 2010, a thematic meeting was held at the Ministerial level in the Security Council on counter-terrorism, following which a comprehensive Presidential Statement was adopted. Just a week ago, we organized a seminar on bringing terrorist to justice at the UN headquarters with more that 20 prosecutors from 6 continents. With all these discussions, we now have a clearer picture of the thematic challenges arising and what further steps need to be taken. Following one of the thematic discussions at the Committee, we also adopted a policy guidance on international cooperation.

The Committee has also pursued a more transparent approach to its work. Based on this, so far thematic briefings have been organized to the wider membership on 8 different topics. They enabled us to increase the dialogue and interaction with all Member States and to raise awareness about counter-terrorism matters within the wider UN.

Mr. Chairman,

Apart from our dialogue in New York, the Committee’s visits to Member States are among the most effective tools available to monitor the implementation of the resolution. They allow the Committee to gather first-hand information about the situation in a particular State, to establish a direct dialogue with the relevant authorities, to identify, together with the States themselves, any potential technical assistance needs, and to convey a message about the importance and urgency of making every effort to implement the provisions of the resolution.

In addition to national level, the CTC is maximising its impact by addressing issues at regional or sub-regional levels. At the Committee, we have held regional discussions to look in-depth at the regional challenges and how to more effectively address them. We also recognized that our strongest value-added is probably in drawing together relevant agencies from the countries of a particular sub-region and working with them to generate solutions to common problems they face. The Committee, through CTED, has organized a number of activities, in line with this focused regional and sub-regional approach. To mention only the most recent ones, we have organized;

- A border management workshop in Nairobi in June this year, which involved bringing representatives from up to 10 different agencies from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to conduct a brain-storming discussion on how their border control systems could be improved.
- A seminar in Sarajevo in October on exploring ways to enhance national coordination and regional cooperation, which brought together senior officials from 13 countries in the region and the representatives of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the SECI Center, UNODC and the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).
- A workshop for police officers and prosecutors in Indonesia, in November, that focused on community policing, new payment technologies and investigations.

Similar exercises are now being planned in other parts of the world with our partners.

Apart from monitoring and promoting the implementation of the resolution, the Committee, with the assistance of the experts of CTED, works to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to Member States in enhancing their counter-terrorism capacities. The Committee and CTED do not provide technical assistance. Instead, we serve as a “matchmaker” or “switchboard” by facilitating the delivery of technical assistance. We have seen during the country visits and the regional workshops that capacity building remains one of the main challenges to effectively fight terrorism. Therefore, the Committee places particular importance to this matter.

The CTC considers effective counter-terrorism measures and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law as complementary and mutually reinforcing, and not contradictory. We believe that they are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort. Therefore, the Committee has continued to remind Member States that any measures taken to combat terrorism must comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

Mr. Chairman,

Following this overview of the work of the CTC, now, how can the CTC and CTED work more closely with NATO?

We can definitely do more to exchange information on what we are each doing and how we see the evolving threat of terrorism. Visits like this one, and the appearances by NATO representatives in New York at the Committee, are certainly useful. The decision by NATO to set up a Liaison Office in New York and to appoint recently a Civilian Liaison Officer have been particularly positive developments in this regard. CTED has also provided briefings to delegations from the NATO Defense College on a number of occasions. We could find other ways to further our dialogue at various levels.

CTED was able to visit the NATO Training Base in Crete during its mission to Greece in April of this year, and the CTC has sent CTED officers to attend meetings and workshops conducted at the NATO Centre of Excellence in Ankara and here in Brussels. In this respect, I believe we would also be able to participate in other activities where NATO is engaged.

In the field of capacity building, there may well be opportunities for us to make referrals to NATO in places where you are conducting counter-terrorism training programs. This reinforces the importance of our keeping in close touch on what we are each doing and where our respective regional and technical priorities lie.

To conclude, again let me say that I am very pleased to be here. I wish to express my sincere hope to see the relationship between NATO and the CTC strengthened with a view to eradicating the common threat of terrorism. Joint activities, where these are possible, will surely make significant contributions to that relationship to the benefit of both organizations.

Thank you.