Explanation of Vote on a UN Security Council Draft Resolution on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 31, 2020


There is no nation on earth more committed to confronting and defeating terrorism than the United States of America. Under the leadership of President Trump, the United States has crushed ISIS and taken out its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In January, the United States rid the world of another dangerous terrorist – Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani.

The Trump Administration will not waver in the fight against terrorism or give in to half measures that leave in place the seeds for future terror. While we firmly believe that the United Nations Security Council has a critical role to play in countering terrorism, it has fallen far short of its responsibilities today.

The Indonesian resolution before us, supposedly designed to reinforce international action on counterterrorism, was worse than no resolution at all.

This resolution was meant to address the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorists, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters and their accompanying family members. And yet it fails to even include reference to the crucial first step – repatriation to countries of origin or nationality.

The United States provides the example here, bringing back our citizens and prosecuting them where appropriate. All nations need to take responsibility for their citizens who engage in terror. As Secretary Pompeo has said: “We want every country to take their citizens back. That’s step one. It’s imperative that they do so.”

Our veto today should come as no surprise. Just last week, I told this Council how disappointed we were by the obstruction of any efforts to discuss repatriation in this text. I will remind you now of what I said then – the world is watching.

It is incomprehensible that other members of this Council were satisfied with a resolution that ignores the security implications of leaving foreign terrorist fighters to plot their escape from limited detention facilities and abandoning their family members to suffer in camps without recourse, opportunities, or hope.

If, as this resolution suggests, the goal of the Council is to address the drivers of terrorism, how can we ignore these obvious breeding grounds for the next generation of ISIS fighters?

I continue to be astonished by a rule of expediency over principle that so often afflicts this Council. Far too often, a problem deferred or obscured is a problem supposedly solved. It takes resolve and action to defeat terrorism.

Terrorist fighters and their families are easily ignored if they are someone else’s problem. But I tell you now, and I say this with absolute conviction – failing to address head on the importance of repatriation will inevitably perpetuate the problem of terrorism.

As Secretary of State Pompeo has said, “We must make sure that ISIS never again flourishes, and that work begins with carrying out justice against those who deserve it.”

This resolution fails badly in that crucial objective, and the United States will not participate in such a cynical and willfully oblivious farce.