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Security Council – Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge’ d’Affaires a.i. of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts: Preventing Terrorists from Acquiring Weapons —

Mr. President,

Italy welcomes the unanimous adoption of today’s resolution and considers it a substantial step forward in the international community’s commitment against the scourge of terrorism.

Mr. President,

Illegal trafficking in weapons is a threat to peace and security in every region of the world. Every day we see the consequences of the ease with which individual criminals and organized groups, including terrorist groups, obtain and make use of such tools. The illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons contribute to instability and insecurity and continue to undermine the effectiveness of States’ development efforts. According to the World Bank the illicit trafficking in weapons represents one of the most profitable activities of organized criminal groups. The revenue generated through this illegal market is equivalent up to 20% of the legal arms trade.

Weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists because of poorly secured stockpiles and weak border controls. The activities of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) further increase the probability that weapons and ammunition will cross borders.

Over recent years the international community has also been confronted with the risk posed by the increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), particularly by non-state armed groups and rogue individuals. Such IED attacks deliberately target concentrations of civilians to achieve a maximum effect of lethality, terror and societal disruption. ISIL has used IEDs since its inception, however, despite the sustained military pressure, the group has been able to develop capacities to assemble such devices on an industrial scale.

Terrorist access to small arms and light weapons has also been facilitated by the spread of online marketplaces. The illegal sales of arms on the dark web present challenges for law enforcement agencies and national governments: the anonymity enabled by this platform makes preventing illegal trade and linking it to specific individuals really difficult.

Last May the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) held an open briefing aimed at analyzing and discussing emerging threats, trends and developments relating to preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons as well as identifying gaps in Member States’ efforts to address this issue. During the briefing experts underlined, inter alia, links between organized crime and terrorism in illicit trafficking, including trafficking in weapons, as well as the need for an integrated approach. In its resolution 2322 (2016), the Security Council calls on States to continue information-sharing on individuals and entities implicated in terrorist activities, in particular their supply of weapons and sources of material support.

The tool enables information exchange and investigative cooperation between law enforcement agencies in relation to the international movement of illicit firearms, as well as licit firearms that have been involved in the commission of a crime.

Mr. President,

Italy has been active within the European Union in elaborating ways of curbing the destabilizing accumulation and misuse of SALW and their ammunition and will continue to offer its cooperation to interested States, taking into consideration the role of up-to-date technology and best practices in physical security and stockpile management, as well as in marking and tracing weapons.

It is important to recall, however, the need to guarantee a clear-cut separation between the legal manufacture and marketing of arms from illegal phenomena that remove arms from the control of the authorities and contribute, among other things, to the financing and actions of criminal and terrorist groups. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is in this regard a balanced and broad-based text, the result of comprehensive and inclusive negotiations, in which all Member States’ views have been reflected. This instrument has the potential to contribute significantly to international peace and security by regulating the international trade in conventional arms, making it more responsible and transparent, and eradicating illicit arms trafficking.

In conclusion, Italy looks forward to working together with partners and relevant stakeholders for a strong outcome of the next 2018 SALW PoA Review Conference which should represent the opportunity to reinforce our common action to prevent terrorists from accessing these type of weapons.

Thank you Mr. President