South Africa: SA Calls for Cooperation to Fight Terrorism

Outside the United Nations Headquarters (file photo).
26 September 2019

South Africa has reaffirmed the value of cooperation between the United Nations (UN), and regional organisations to address peace and security challenges including the scourge of terrorism.

"Terrorism continues to threaten our populations and deprive us of the genius and creativity of our children and youth. On the African continent it has the potential to derail our collective efforts to bring about peace, security and sustainable development," said International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Naledi Pandor on Wednesday.

The Minister said this while addressing the UN Security Council meeting on Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations in maintaining international peace and security: the contribution of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in countering terrorist threats.

The Minister said continued terrorist attacks across the world have shown that no nation or region is immune to this threat. There is no short-term solution to countering the threat of terrorism and its devastating consequences, she said.

"If we are to triumph over this scourge we need, in addition to our national efforts, to strengthen international, regional and sub-regional cooperation and coordination efforts."

Pandor said a multilateral framework, anchored in the UN, remains critical to preventing and countering the diverse and evolving aspects of terrorist threats.

"With near universal membership, the UN is best placed to foster cooperation across the globe, as well as in supporting member states and regions to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy across its four pillars," said the Minister.

Pandor said the collective sharing of experiences and information and the adoption of best practices in dealing with common threats.

The Minister, who is attending the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) together with a delegation of Ministers, said regional organisations are key partners of the UN.

Forming partnerships to fight terrorism

"South Africa has consistently prioritised an enhanced strategic partnership between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations, not only in countering terrorism, but also in conflict prevention and resolution.

"As a member of this Council, my country continues to strive for closer partnership between the UN and the African Union. This takes into account the volume of African conflict situations on the agenda of the Security Council, as well as the growing threat of terrorism across Africa."

South Africa noted that different regions of the world experience the threat posed by terrorist groups and/or the return or relocation of foreign terrorist fighters, differently.

In addition, South Africa encouraged the development of partnerships with regional organisations, given their understanding of local and regional dynamics and their understanding of what would be required to address the issue.

"In this regard the international community must find ways to support efforts by regional organisations aimed at fighting terrorism and violent extremism, including through sharing experiences and providing technical assistance and adequate resources for capacity-building."

The Minister also spoke to the need to understand and address the root causes and conditions that give rise to terrorism.

Countries, she said, should seek political solutions aimed at resolving long-standing conflicts to create the conditions for stability and a better future over the long-term.

"We should seek to address the marginalization of some sectors of the population and address socio-economic and political disparities. More often than not, where there is conflict, there might also be a deficit of the rule of law, thus allowing terrorists the space to entrench themselves and expand their activities," said the Minister.

UNGA, which got underway in New York on Monday, is being held under the theme 'Galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion'. It will conclude on 30 September.

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