Remarks at a UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on Transnational Activities of Terrorist Groups

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
August 31, 2022


Thank you very much. The United States thanks the UAE and Kenya for calling this Arria session to address the ongoing threats of cross-border terrorist activity. And I also want to thank the briefers for their valuable, even searing, presentations.

ISIS and al-Qa’ida in particular continue to exploit conflict, governance failure, political turmoil, socioeconomic inequalities, and grievances to attract followers and resources, as well as to incite and organize terrorist attacks. The international community must augment the efforts of vulnerable populations to reject these appeals to violent extremism.

As the Secretary-General recently noted in his bi-annual report on ISIS and al-Qa’ida, this threat is increasing across various areas of the African continent. ISIS and al-Qa’ida affiliates continue to exploit Africa’s standing conflicts and grievances to bolster their illicit activities, providing them heightened lethality.

As has already been noted, Al-Shabaab’s deadly siege on the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu on August 20-21, and its July incursion into Ethiopia, are just its latest large-scale attacks undermining the peace and stability of Somalia and East Africa.

The United States continues to assist our African partners to build and sustain capable, professional, and accountable military and civilian security services to prevent and counter terrorist threats.

I want to say up front that we continue to believe that maintaining Al-Shabaab’s listing in the UNSC 751 regime, which is tailored to the Somali context, so far offers the best opportunity to address the Al-Shabaab threat. This is admittedly a particularly complex challenge with many factors to consider, thus we welcome further collaboration with Somalia, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and its troop contributors, and the members of the Security Council, to address better the al-Shabaab threat and enable Somalia to take more responsibility for its own security.

We underscore the continuing importance of the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee as the venue for productive technical discussions regarding sanctions listings. We also emphasize the need for 751 to be able to operate free from unrelated bilateral political considerations.

In order to promote the peace and stability of Somalia and East Africa, we urge all Council members to support nominations in the committee.

Among new and emerging technologies, as we have heard unmanned aerial systems are particularly exploited by terrorist groups to facilitate attacks, conduct intelligence, and develop propaganda. The Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Berlin Memorandum on Good Practices for Countering Terrorist Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems provides recommendations to counter the illicit use of UAS.

The United States is committed to continuing our Counterterrorism-UAS capacity-building efforts and appreciates Kenya’s dedication to this important mission. We have seen an increase in terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems and multi-use technologies to threaten soft targets, and we look forward to continuing cooperation with Kenya on these efforts.

Thank you.