Explanation of Vote at the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2249 on Counterterrorism

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Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 20, 2015


Mr. President, in recent weeks barbaric terrorist attacks have startled the world’s conscience. From Europe to Africa to the Middle East, innocent men and women have been slaughtered. Families destroyed in Beirut. Concertgoers slain in Paris. Air passengers bombed in the sky. Tourists killed on the beach in Tunisia.

The United States stands with these victims of terrorism of all faiths and nationalities. And yet, even as we mourn those lost in these recent attacks, we remember the wholesale violence continuing in Iraq and Syria, where men, women, and children struggle every day to survive and flee the bloodshed.

Behind these outrages rests a violent ideology of hate. Groups like ISIL and al-Nusrah Front know what they’re doing – they perpetrate atrocities to advance a hateful worldview. We, the Member States of the United Nations, must therefore intensify and accelerate our efforts to degrade and defeat these groups once and for all. We need a truly global initiative to counter ISIL, prevent more attacks in our homelands, and stabilize the Middle East.

For this reason, we welcome and applaud this resolution’s resolute call on states to take all necessary measures in compliance with international law to counter ISIL and the al-Nusrah Front. We must also choke off funding, arms, recruitment, and other kinds of support to ISIL and the al-Nusrah Front.

As the resolution recognizes, Iraq has made it clear that it is facing a serious threat of continuing attacks from ISIL, in particular coming out of safe havens in Syria; and the Assad regime in Syria has shown that it cannot and will not suppress this threat, even as it undertakes actions that benefit the extremists’ recruiting. In this regard, working with Iraq, the United States has been leading international efforts to provide assistance to combat the threat that ISIL poses to the security of its people and territory, and we are taking, in accordance with the UN Charter and its recognition of the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense, necessary and proportionate military action to deny ISIL safe haven.

The United States, along with 64 other nations and international organizations, has formed a Coalition whose central aim is to degrade ISIL’s capabilities and achieve its lasting defeat. Militarily, the Coalition is working to deny ISIL safe-havens, disrupt its ability to project power, and build partner capacity. It is also actively working to disrupt ISIL’s financing and economic sustainment and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from territories it has seized, and to counter its message of hatred and violence. To stabilize areas liberated from ISIL’s control, the Coalition further supports the efforts of the United Nations Development Program and Iraqi government.

Today’s resolution recalls the Security Council’s already well-established framework to respond to terrorist threats generally and to ISIL, al-Nusrah Front, and others associated with al-Qaida in particular. Multiple past resolutions – 1267, 1373, 2170, 2178, and 2199 – lay out specific obligations and actions states must take to respond to these threats. In the Security Council, we look forward to continuing cooperation, including in the relevant sanctions committees and counterterrorism entities, to enhance our will and capacities to implement these tools to counter ISIL and related groups.

To vanquish these groups, we must also tackle the violent extremism that drives them.

These violent ideologies capture and motivate individuals worldwide, including those likely responsible for today’s tragic hotel attack in Bamako.

We therefore look forward to the Secretary-General’s Plan for Preventing Violent Extremism.

Finally, we must urgently work together to support a political transition process in Syria, in accordance with the Geneva Communique, and the Statement of the International Syria Support Group, to reduce the operating space for these groups, and establish a political process leading to credible, inclusive, nonsectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections.

Our task is great, but we know what needs to be done. We draw our strength from the resiliency of the people affected by these tragedies. Their unity and resolve shows why ISIL will fail in its goal of creating fear and polarizing communities. Through global solidarity and cooperation, ISIL and its ideology will be defeated.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Source: U.S Department of State


Robert Williams

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