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UN unveils new scheme to boost Central Asia’s fight against terrorism

UN unveils new scheme to boost Central Asia’s fight against terrorism

Miroslav Jenca
The United Nations today launched a new initiative aimed at strengthening efforts to assist Central Asian countries in their efforts to combat terrorism.

“Central Asia is one of the most interdependent regions of the world, with a large population, a potential common market and a crossroad of energy routes,” Miroslav Jenca, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), said at an event in New York.

To date, the region’s five countries have “been spared large-scale terrorist attacks,” he noted.

“Yet it cannot be denied that there is a growing concern about the possibly of intensifying activities of various extremist, terrorist, and criminal groups and networks operating in Central Asia, fuelled by instability in the wider region and porous borders through which extremism and criminal networks penetrate the region.”

The project unveiled today brings together the UNRCCA, the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), Central Asian governments, civil society and others.

“Prevention of terrorism in Central Asia is key not only to protecting the well-being of populations and ensuring national and regional stability,” Mr. Jenca emphasized. “It is also a matter of global concern, given that the wider region is fast becoming the main front on the global war against terror.”

The new scheme aims to help Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan establish a regional counter-terrorism plan in line with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

That strategy, unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, focuses on four key pillars of action: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building State capacity and bolstering the role of the UN; and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law against the backdrop of the fight against terrorism.

Today’s launch of the project “is very timely,” given the proximity of Afghanistan to the region as well as recent events in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Mr. Jenca told reporters in New York this afternoon.

Most Central Asian nations, he said, have acceded to all 13 universal anti-terrorism instruments.

The new initiative “seeks to build on existing efforts,” Mr. Jenca said, also underscoring the importance of ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights while fighting terrorism.

Sponsored by the European Commission (EC) and Norway, it will bring together regional experts, with the first meeting set to take place in December.

The gatherings seek to pave the way for a ministerial-level conference next year to lead to the adoption of a joint action plan for the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by Central Asian nations.

The new project also aims to boost cooperation against the threat posed by terrorism and build consensus on common solutions to fight the scourge.