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Diplomat outlines key areas of work at UN Counter-Terrorism Office

October 02, 10:31 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

Key goals of the newly-created UN Office will be foiling terrorism, fighting against terrorism propaganda, and curbing channels of financing criminals

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Anti-terrorist drills of the Russian Federal Security Service special forces

Anti-terrorist drills of the Russian Federal Security Service special forces

© Alexandr Ryumin/TASS

UNITED NATIONS, October 2. /TASS/. Key goals of the newly-created UN Office of Counter-Terrorism will be foiling terrorism, countering militants returning home from hotspots, fighting against terrorism propaganda, and curbing channels of financing criminals, Under-Secretary-General of the office Vladimir Voronkov told TASS.

The diplomat said he had nearly 50 meetings with representatives of different countries during the ministerial week at the UN General Assembly. "Now we have a better understanding of how to build further work. There is a number of priority issues, which were discussed during these meetings," he stressed.

"Of course, thwarting terrorism is one of the most important issues on which we will work," Voronkov said, noting that there are various preconditions in the regions for this phenomenon and analytical work is very vital.

"The second issue is countering militants who have experience of "dirty" work across the world, namely in Syria and Iraq," he said. "They return to their previous places of residence posing a potential threat of resuming terrorist activity."

The third field of work is the Internet and spreading terrorism ideology. "If earlier there were calls that the Internet should not be touched as this is the violation of the freedom of speech, now the position has absolutely changed," Voronkov said.

"The focus is made on countering terrorism propaganda as people get engaged in terrorism activity and terrorists coordinate their steps on the global scale through the Internet," he said.

"I believe combining efforts of practical specialists and diplomatic work in this area is inevitable," he told TASS. "Only that can lead to positive results."

Voronkov noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his speech at the General Assembly, expressed the idea of holding the first meeting of the heads of counter-terrorism agencies of various countries. "Now we need to work in earnest on the agenda of such a meeting," he stressed. "It will take place, that’s for sure, but it needs to be prepared thoroughly and carefully so that it becomes a success everyone is interested in."

Another important issue is financing terrorism, including drug trafficking, he said. "Naturally, terrorists could not have created such a far-reaching network without massive financial injections," the diplomat said, noting that after the consultations a major document will be compiled and submitted to the UN chief.

Voronkov noted that during the general debate at the UN General Assembly almost all speakers discussed the counter-terrorism efforts, calling them "one of the major priorities of the global community."

On June 21, 2017, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Vladimir Voronkov Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office that had been established by General Assembly Resolution 71/291 of June 15, 2017. The new structure is tasked to coordinate international efforts to counter terrorism.

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