First of all, I wish to express condolences and offer sympathy to the families of the victims of the latest terrorist attacks and to the affected nations.
I wish to thank the two co-facilitators and their teems on the outstanding work they have done and the tremendous effort they have put in negotiating the adopted resolution.
The Republic of Serbia has aligned itself with the statement delivered earlier today by the representative of the European Union. I shall therefore make some additional comments from a national perspective.
The growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism are among the greatest perils of the present day. Frequent and, regrettably, visible tragic consequences are evident all over the world. The region of South-East Europe is no exception in that regard, either. In fighting terrorism, we need increased international coordination and exchange of experiences and our meeting today is another step in the right direction.
For ten years now, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy has been the cornerstone of our joint efforts to eliminate terrorism. Counter-terrorist activities within the United Nations system are of priority importance for Serbia and my country has invested significant efforts to fully implement all relevant documents of the United Nations, including the Strategy and its principles.
The activities within, and the coordination of measures of, the four pillars of the Strategy are of great importance if we are to achieve desired results. Addressing the causes and prevention measures, strengthening the capacities of the country and the role of the United Nations, as well as the promotion of human rights and the rule of law have been in the forefront of Serbia’s effort to fight terrorism.
A victim of terrorism and violent extremism, Serbia considers that a high level of cooperation, including cooperation in prevention activities, is the best way to fight this scourge effectively. Intensifying national, regional and international efforts in fighting terrorism and extremism and preventing radicalization is therefore of paramount importance.
The number of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) recruited in the region of the Western Balkans is smaller than in other parts of the world. A co-sponsor of UNSCR 2178 (2014), however, my country has made significant efforts to counter the FTF phenomenon. Prevention measures have been taken, as well as measures to ensure social inclusion, while, in recognition of the specific threat presented by the phenomenon, centres of potential indoctrination and recruitment are accorded appropriate attention by relevant government agencies.
Recently, the Secretary-General presented the United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. In its resolution 70/254 of 12 February 2016, the General Assembly welcomed this initiative and announced that new efforts will be taken in this field.
My country is well aware of the importance of taking timely action and its institutions are actively engaged in preventing violent extremism and radicalization, the all-important stepping stones that lead to terrorism. Promotion of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law are also instrumental in decreasing risks of terrorism and creating conditions for its eradication. Providing choice to, and supporting, the young people can also have a catalytic effect in that regard.
During its Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2015, Serbia launched, in cooperation with the OSCE Secretariat, the initiative “OSCE United in Countering Violent Extremism”. At its meeting in Belgrade on 4 December 2015, the OSCE Ministerial Council adopted the Declaration on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism and the Declaration on Reinforcing OSCE Efforts to Counter Terrorism in the Wake of Recent Terrorist Attacks.
Today, we need the joint efforts, perhaps more than ever before, as the United Nations and its Member States continue to face an ever greater threat of terrorism. We need to strengthen our capacities and take comprehensive measures, including prevention, to fight terrorism; failure or the lack of cooperation in that regard are unacceptable.