The chief United Nations counter-terrorism expert today called for greater cooperation among intelligence agencies and joint action in preventing terrorist acts, stressing the organizations' proximity to the front lines in the battle against the worldwide scourge.
Speaking at the opening of a meeting in Russia for the heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, Javier Rupérez, head of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), underscored the crucial role of such services in that they represented the first line of defence in fighting terrorism, which he described as a "common enemy" that can only be defeated by working in harmony.
This is all the more so as "intelligence services have the capacity to observe the evolution of the terrorist phenomenon, to prevent its actions and to alert governments to its threat and new modalities," he added, according to excerpts of his remarks released beforehand.
The meeting in the western Siberian city of Novosibirsk is the first time officials of the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and CTED are attending the gathering of heads of special services, state security and law-enforcement agencies that are foreign partners of Russia's Federal Security Service. Andrey I. Denisov, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, is attending in his capacity as current CTC Chairman.
In addition to focusing on strengthening cooperation and information sharing among participating agencies, the meeting is also looking at preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) for terrorist purposes as well as cutting the channels of financing for terrorist activities, including the funds from illegal drug trafficking, with a special focus on Afghanistan.
The agenda also covers the practical difficulties in identifying and countering suicide bombers, and maintaining a database on organizations and personalities involved in terrorist activities.
The two-day meeting – the fourth of its kind – is being attended by 75 delegations from 50 countries, including those of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Other participants include representatives from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as officials from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States and the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.
The CTC was established by the Security Council in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States to help countries strengthen their legal and institutional abilities to fight terrorism.
Both the CTC and CTED work with a wide variety of partner organizations, regional bodies and other institutions – including intelligence services – to build cooperation and promote assistance for nations needing help to meet their obligations under Security Council resolutions concerning terrorism.