Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and President of the Security Council, at the Security Council briefing on Foreign Terrorist Fighters —
I shall now make a statement in my national capacity as representative of Italy.
I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Head of the newly established Office of Counter-Terrorism, and CTED Executive Director, Michele Coninsx, for their insightful briefings. I also wish to take the opportunity to commend very much Ambassador Umarov for the excellent leadership of the ISIL/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and for his detailed presentation.
Three years ago this very Council adopted resolution 2178 underscoring the urgent need to tackle the threat posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters – travelling to the conflict zones to join Da’esh. In that context, the Council required Member States to ensure that their legal systems provide for the prosecution, as serious crime, of travel for terrorism or related training, as well as of the financing or facilitation of such activities.
Subsequently 2015 Italy amended its penal code to criminalize the conduct of any individual organizing, financing or promoting transnational travels aimed at committing terrorist acts.
Resolution 2178, since its adoption, has been considered a comprehensive and central tool aimed at enhancing Member States’ operational and legal measures to stem the flow of FTFs and implement capacity building programs. Nonetheless, the global threat posed by terrorism continues to evolve and diversify.
The sustained military pressure levied upon Da’esh as well as the deterioration of its financial conditions have not deprived the group of its capability to send funds to its supporters outside the conflict zone and to enable external attacks. ISIL has been continuing to adapt to military pressure by changing its organization from State-like to network, reframing narrative and making investments in legitimate businesses.
The heinous attack perpetrated last Friday in a crowded Sufi mosque near Egypt’s Sinai coast, clearly demonstrates the persistently very high level of terrorist threat.
While the flow of FTFs travelling to the conflict zones has nearly stopped, Member States continue to be confronted with the threat posed by returnees and relocators.
The international community is still looking for an effective way to properly address the challenge. Our commitment on counter-terrorism must be extended far and wide, including in the Sahel, where instability contributes to the spread of violence and terrorism.
The lack of adequate information-sharing mechanisms further hinders Countries’ efforts to assess and mitigate the threat. In this regard, it remains crucial for Member States to enhance their cooperation within and between public sector agencies, both domestically and internationally and to empower financial intelligence units, law enforcement and intelligence services to improve the exchange of relevant information in a timely manner.
Effective border police measures as well as spreading capacity building on terrorist financing investigations are particularly key in this regard. Italy already provided advanced training to foreign officers dealing with counter-terrorism and is also committed to providing judicial and law enforcement international cooperation, in the framework of transnational investigations.
So we welcome the proposal by the United States of the new resolution. In it the Security Council should address the threat posed by returnees and relocators by considering the international best practices and provide comprehensive strategies and guidelines to help Member States understand how to reintegrate returnees, especially women and children.
Italy stands ready to continue to work with Member States and the United Nations as a whole to guarantee a timely implementation of the new resolution’s recommendations in order to update and enhance the response to terrorism by the international community.