We must be completely committed to fighting terrorism [fr]
Fight against Daesh - Speech by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council – 8 June 2017
At the outset, let me warmly thank Jeffrey Feltman for his illuminating presentation of the Secretary-General’s report on the threat posed by Da’esh. I also convey, on behalf of France, my most heartfelt condolences to all of our partners who have suffered from the terrorist attacks of the last two weeks.
Nothing can justify the targeting of civilian populations and cowardly attacking innocent people, as occurred in Manchester, Baghdad, Kabul, Manila, London, and, yesterday, in Tehran — to cite just the most recent examples. More than ever before, we must be completely committed to fighting terrorism and to curbing the barbarism of Da’esh. The President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, has strongly reaffirmed that this fight is a priority and has announced that France will step up its efforts in that area, in particular by establishing a coordination unit that would report directly to him.
The Secretary-General’s report clearly points out that Da’esh has continued to suffer major defeats in Iraq and Syria, due in particular to the efforts of the international coalition. We must continue to fight Da’esh terrorists in their strongholds in Syria and Iraq and prevent them from extending their control over other areas in the Middle East, Libya and, importantly, the Sahel. In that regard, the start of the battle to retake Raqqa, which has led to the planning of attacks to be carried out in France and Europe, is a major issue and a top priority for my country.
But above and beyond our military efforts, I would like to emphasize three areas in which we can and must do better.
First of all, the fight against the financing of terrorism must remain a top priority, in line with resolution 2253 (2015). Although it cannot be denied that Da’esh is facing financial difficulties, we should not underestimate the ability of the group and its supporters to adapt and diversify their sources of income. We must therefore remain fully committed to drying up the sources of Da’esh financing. That will require specific and concerted efforts to monitor suspicious funds and transactions, reduce anonymity, limit the use of cash in the economy and strengthen cooperation among all institutions concerned.
Secondly, the dynamic flows of foreign terrorist fighters must compel us to constantly adapt our legislation and systems. Apart from the need to continue to prevent radicalization and stop people from leaving, we must anticipate the risks posed by those who might return and by fighters who decide to remain in a third country. That would mean improving our detection tools, strengthening information-sharing and devising an appropriate response when fighters and their entourage seek to return to our countries. It is an extremely complex exercise because every situation is different. In the case of France in particular, there are many women and children to be taken into consideration. We must be able to respond to that challenge; we are working on to address it.
Finally, we must continue and step up the fight against ideas. Since terrorists use digital technology to their advantage, we must also change the way we respond. Combating Da’esh via the Internet is a new element in our fight. We must therefore continue to have frank discussions with major Internet groups on ways to counter deadly Da’esh propaganda. Above and beyond the commitment from Governments, the effectiveness of our efforts also depends on the participation of civil society. The contradictions espoused by terrorist groups must be explained on the ground.
To counter those who wish to destroy our way of life, freedom and democracy, let us all be resolute in our multi-pronged fight, while maintaining respect for our values and the law. That will show that the United Nations is also engaged in the fight against terrorism and Da’esh.