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USUN - Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at an Open Security Council Session on UN Counterterrorism Committees

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
May 11, 2010

Thank you, Madame President. Let me start by thanking the Chairmen for their briefings and their dedicated leadership of this Council's three counterterrorism-related committees. The importance of this work and of the broader international efforts to combat terrorism has been underscored repeatedly in recent weeks: by the attempted airline bombing of a flight bound for Detroit on December 25th of last year; by the March bombings in the Moscow subway; by the troubling events days ago less than a mile from us in Times Square; and by deadly bombings in Iraq yesterday. These are stark reminders that terrorism remains one of the most complicated threats to address.

Transnational terrorism is a truly global challenge. Citizens from dozens of countries around the world—the vast majority of whom are not from the United States—have been victims of terrorism and violent extremism. The United States recognizes that no single country can address this threat alone. Therefore, the United States will continue to reach out, on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect, to forge international coalitions.

The United States has set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda and its extremist allies.

One critical element of this effort is strengthening our counterterrorism partnerships with the United Nations, including the relevant Security Council subsidiary bodies and the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force and its newly established Support Office.

The United States is committed to more sustained and strategic counterterrorism engagement with the wider UN membership to further our common objectives. To this end, on April 9th, the State Department hosted a meeting to strengthen cooperation among U.S. and UN experts involved in counterterrorism capacity-building in the Sahel. The meeting involved some 25 experts from the U.S. Government departments and UN offices and agencies, including representatives from the Counterterrorism Committee's Counterterrorism Executive Directorate and the 1267 Monitoring Team. We look forward to continuing such dialogues with UN experts.

Before turning to the work of the three Council committees, let me highlight three core principles that underpin our approach to UN counterterrorism work. First, inclusivity and transparency: all of the Council's counterterrorism-related committees should remain mindful of the need to make their work as transparent and accessible as possible to the wider UN community, to national actors, regional organizations, and civil society. We encourage further engagement by the three committees with the wider UN membership on a broad range of issues to ensure the committees' work is well understood.

Second, implementation: let us not forget that the Council's counterterrorism framework obligates all of us to implement it. We recognize that many countries require assistance to do so, and we are committed to making capacity-building more innovative and far-reaching. But both the committees and the Council itself further emphasize the importance of full implementation of this framework by member states. Third, there is relevance: we must ensure that our counterterrorism work in this Council and the wider UN system is connected to ongoing, on-the-ground, national and regional efforts to deal with the threat.

Madame President, I would like to thank Ambassador Apakan for the exceptional job he has done guiding the Counterterrorism Committee during his first five months as its Chair and helping reinforce these core principles. Ambassador Apakan has made the CTC more efficient and has worked extremely well with CTED’s Executive Director, Mike Smith, to keep the general membership up to date on the work of the Committee, through open meetings on topics such as international legal cooperation and maritime security.

It’s imperative that the CTC and its CTED continue to focus on areas of strategic priority.
So we’re pleased that CTED recently visited Yemen, and has provided us with their preliminary conclusions from that visit. We also hope that partners will work with the Yemeni authorities to build up the necessary counterterrorism capacities, which will also help them to deal with other security threats within their own country.

Madame President, let me turn to the al-Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee. The 1267 sanctions regime remains one of the UN's most effective counterterrorism tools and a symbol of international consensus against the threats of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The regime has evolved significantly over the past 11 years, and the Council has devoted great effort to ensuring that it’s fair, effective, and relevant to the ever-changing terrorist threats.

The United States welcomes the significant enhancements to the regime's listing and delisting process, outlined in Resolutions 1822 and 1904. In particular, we’re confident that Resolution 1904’s establishment of an Ombudsperson to facilitate the Committee's review of delisting petitions will help ensure that delisting procedures are as fair and transparent as possible.

We’re pleased by the Committee's progress in carrying out its work to implement the package of reforms in Resolution 1822—including the Committee's comprehensive review of nearly 500 individuals and entities on its Consolidated List to ensure that each entry is as up-to-date as possible and to determine the ongoing aptness of the listings. We also acknowledge the Committee's efforts to develop and post online narrative summaries of reasons for each entry on the Consolidated List. These reforms will make committee efforts more accessible and understandable to the wider UN membership, and they will bolster member states' ability to implement the measures required.

I want to acknowledge and thank Ambassador Mayr-Harting for the tremendous efforts that he and his team, and all the experts on the 1267 Committee, have devoted. They have worked steadfastly to implement these reforms. We all know how time-consuming and resource-intensive this work has been, and we greatly appreciate their oversight of this process.

Madame President, as this Council noted in Resolution 1887, the National Security Summit in Washington in April underscored that the 1540 Committee’s work is critical to preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to nonstate actors. Let me thank again Chairman Heller for his tremendous work. We must continue to find ways to strengthen the cooperation of this Council’s three counterterrorism committees, despite their differing mandates.

We fully embrace the 1540 Committee's current work plan, including its emphasis on working groups. Going forward, the Committee must focus on garnering support for a more robust and sustainable funding mechanism, such as that suggested by President Obama: a voluntary fund to help states achieve full implementation of the resolution's mandate.

We also look forward to the careful consideration of renewing the Committee's mandate, with a timeline looking out as far as a decade or more. In the near term, we encourage integration of the Committee's 2009 Comprehensive Review of Resolution 1540 Outcomes; we underline the need for multilateral cooperation; we stress the importance of additional national reporting to the Committee; and we urge the sharpening of national implementation plans. And again I want to underscore our gratitude for Ambassador Heller for his excellent leadership.

In conclusion, Madame President, we are pleased with the direction that these three committees are following.

We believe that, under the capable leadership of the committees’ current Chairs, UN counterterrorism efforts will guide and reinforce member states' actions to deter terrorism—including the threats posed by al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as proliferation efforts by terrorist, nonstate actors.

Thank you, Madame President.

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