‘Force alone is not the answer’ says UN counter-terrorism chief


International cooperation is vital to confront the multi-faceted challenges resulting from terrorism, the head of the UN Office dedicated to confronting the scourge worldwide said on Thursday, calling for decisive multilateral action.

“Force alone is not the answer,” Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General for the Office of Counter-Terrorism, told ambassadors in the Security Council.

“Comprehensive responses, firmly grounded in political strategies, anchored in international law, and based on all-of-government and all-of-society approaches, are indispensable.”

Progress against Da’esh

Referring to the Secretary-General’s report on the ongoing threat posed by Da’esh – also known as ISIL - Mr. Voronkov emphasized the group remains a menace, particularly in conflict zones, despite recent progress made.

Notably, there has been a substantial reduction in Da’esh’s operational capacities. The prolonged delay in announcing a new leader following the killing of his predecessor was indicative of internal challenges within the group, he said.

Furthermore, Member States’ efforts to counter terrorist financing have yielded tangible results, with Da’esh’s current financial reserves estimated between $10 million and $25 million, significantly less than previous years, Mr. Voronkov added.

Under-Secretary-General Voronkov briefing the UN Security Council.

Da’esh affiliates

He also highlighted important progress in countering Da’esh affiliates in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, and Mozambique.

Despite these achievements, the risk of Da’esh resurgence remains, as evidenced by increased attacks in Iraq and Syria since November, showcasing the group’s resilience, he continued.

Da’esh and affiliates remain a force in West Africa and the Sahel, with the vast region experiencing a deteriorating and increasingly complex security environment due to local disputes coupled with the agenda and operations of these extremist groups.

Need for prevention

In conclusion, Mr. Voronkov reiterated the UN’s commitment to counter-terrorism efforts, urging Member States to consider unintended consequences that result from some measures.

He also stressed the importance of grounding counter-terrorism efforts in international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, and cited the importance of prevention.

“Addressing the conflict itself remains our best hope to mitigate the threat posed by Da’esh and other terrorist groups,” he said.

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