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National statements

Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Meeting

Thematic issues

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Peace and Security
  • Sanctions
  • Terrorism


Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Meeting

Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

I have been asked to make a few general observations at this stage based on my experience as Chair of the Al Qaida Sanctions Committee.

Although the core of Al Qaida is significantly degraded, its toxic influence has proven persistent, inspiring adherents and affiliates that can take the form of a single individual committing terrorist acts, to veritable armies – such as Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula – threatening the very territorial integrity of States.

The Council, the Al Qaida Committee that I Chair and, most particularly, the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team that advises the Committee can trace the evolving characteristics of Al Qaida and its affiliates' mobilization, recruitment and tactics.

But Member States are best able to identify which new groups are acting in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of Al Qaida or one of its affiliates; which individuals and entities are providing these groups with the funds, arms and recruits that make them a threat to international peace and security; and thus, who the targeted financial sanctions, travel ban and arms embargo should be applied against.

This makes the Al Qaida Sanctions Regime unique amongst the Council's sanctions regimes, in that it depends entirely on Member States to determine how the regime is targeted.

In a sense, the regime is a powerful security instrument placed by the Security Council into the hands of Member States to use.

Over the past few years, there has been a commendable effort to assist states in establishing the necessary legal and institutional framework to give effect to the sanctions measures themselves.

But not enough has been done to assist states in using the Al Qaida Sanctions Regime – how to integrate it into both their national and regional responses to the threat of Al Qaida.

And until this is done, the Al Qaida Sanctions Regime will never meet its full potential to disrupt Al Qaida networks and prevent Al Qaida attacks.

The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force project on terrorist designations and asset freezing represents an important opportunity to redress this: and my message to the Global Experts who will be meeting over the next two days to discuss capacity building in this area is: do not think of your task as being only about assisting implementation of the regime; think of it also in terms of how to ensure the best possible use of the regime.

It is also important to remember that any individual, group, undertaking or entity that participates, by any means, in the financing or support of acts or activities of Al-Qaida, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them, is eligible to be subject to the sanctions measures.

Thus the measures target not only the "principals" – the Al Qaida entities and their leadership – but also their "enablers" – the individuals and networks which provide the funds, arms and recruits for the principals.

Listing the principals has an important declaratory effect: it focuses global attention on the groups' existence and, hopefully, deters possible sources of support and motivates international law enforcement to crack-down on their activities.

Listing the enablers has a more immediate practical impact: the Enablers are more likely to be connected to the financial system and thus vulnerable to the effect of sanctions. Closing down financing networks at the point they intersect with a regulated financial sector can significantly disrupt the principal entity and provide law enforcement with leverage to pursue the rest of the network to the principal itself.

Identifying those enablers, given the evolving and geographically diverse nature of the threat that the Al Qaida Sanctions Regime, is where the Committee depends the most on the input of Member States to determine how sanctions should be deployed.

In concluding, I would simply reiterate that the regime will be most effective if it is seen by Member States as a useful instrument to complement – and contribute to – their own national and regional responses to the Al Qaida threat; and if we remember that the effectiveness of the regime depends critically on the input from Member States to determine how the sanctions are targeted.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 5 June 2015
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