Illicit arms trade fuels terrorist groups [fr]
Preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons - Security Council - Intervention of Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Wedsnesday 2 Augsut 2017
First of all, allow me to extend our welcome to the new Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya. We would also like to thank China for the remarkable way in which it conducted itself during its presidency of the Council in July. I would also like to thank Egypt for assuming the presidency for the month of August. We thank Egypt for having organized today’s important meeting and for having taken the initiative to put forth resolution 2370 (2017), which tries to tackle the problem of preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons. Lastly, I would also like to thank the representatives of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Office of Counter-Terrorism, INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their informative briefings.
Current events constantly remind us of the urgency and severity of the problem of the illicit arms trade, which, besides constituting a serious threat to international peace and security, fuels terrorist groups and provides them with the means to act that they need. France has had to confront it directly in the form of the terrorist attacks that have been occurred on its territory in the past few years, several of which were committed with small arms obtained through illicit transnational trade, and many other countries have been similarly affected. Beyond that, we are dealing with threats to the stability and development of many entire regions — the Sahel and the Middle East, to mention only two — as well as the viability of national reconciliation processes and people’s full exercise of their human rights.
There are two types of such materials that have turned out to be particularly sensitive because they are well suited to the commission of terrorist acts — small arms and light weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Resolution 2370 (2017), which we have just adopted unanimously, emphasizes them.
France is taking special action regarding these weapons at various levels.
The first is in the framework of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, whose third Review Conference, which France will chair, will be held in New York in 2018. The Programme of Action is an appropriate framework for guiding our collective action that has already resulted in significant progress whereby many States have improved their small-arms legislation, assistance programmes have been established and regional organizations are taking better account of the problem. Despite those advances, however, many challenges remain. The Review Conference will provide an essential opportunity for making concrete progress in the fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including by ramping up the mobilization of all stakeholders in the security, arms control and development sectors, and by exploiting all the potential synergies between existing instruments.
We are also working within the framework of the Arms Trade Treaty to improve regulation of the legitimate arms trade, and also through the Palermo Convention — under which France has begun its process of acceding to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition — as well as through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and bilateral cooperation.
With regard to IEDs in particular, France has also been very active in the General Assembly and in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, as well as through bilateral cooperation.
It is in the interests of all States Members of the United Nations to promote comprehensive mobilization on the political and administrative fronts, and of all civil-society stakeholders, with a view to combating the spread of small arms and light weapons in as many States as possible. That commitment is essential if we are to do as much as we can to prevent terrorist groups and individuals from acquiring the means for violent action.
We should work on a number of different kinds of action on trafficking, both upstream of it — in order to prevent the distribution of weapons in the first place — and downstream, so as to interrupt existing flows. Such measures include developing adequate national legislation, reducing illicit stocks in circulation through collection and destruction campaigns, improving the security and physical management of arms and ammunition stocks and strengthening police and customs controls. Importantly, resolution 2370 (2017) encourages States to redouble their efforts in this area. At the international level, it is crucial to ensure that countries accede to and ratify the principal related international instruments, and France urges all countries to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty as soon as possible.
I would like to conclude, Mr. President, by thanking you once again for giving us the opportunity to have this enriching and complex exchange on an issue that is a big priority for my country. France will continue to play its full part in the international community’s efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring their means of attack. That means, among other things, that we must continue to be absolutely determined in the fight against every kind of traffic that is fueling terrorist groups, whether in weapons, narcotics or human beings.