Remarks at a UN Security Council Semi-Annual Briefing on Counter-Terrorism and Nonproliferation by the 1267, 1373, and 1540 Committees

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 20, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you to the chairs of the 1267, 1373 and 1540 Committees for their strong cooperation. These committees play a crucial and complementary role in assessing and countering global threats and they are invaluable in our fight against terrorism.

Mr. President, ISIS and Al Qaida are dynamic organizations, evolving with the pressure the international community brings to bear on them. The 1267 Committee must continue to keep up its pace to adapt to the evolving threat. We are pleased that this month, the 1267 Committee designated Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and ISIL-Khorasan, a dangerous ISIS affiliate operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for UN sanctions.

Azhar’s listing shows that the international community can and will hold terrorists accountable for their actions. The designation of ISIS-Khorasan demonstrates the Committee’s commitment to ensuring that ISIS affiliates do not take up the mantle of a diminished ISIS core. In this vein, it is important that the Committee designate other ISIS affiliates who seek to replicate the destructions wrought in Iraq and Syria in new corners of the world. We commend our Security Council colleagues for supporting these important designations.

Mr. President, the threat of WMD proliferation is a growing concern and the work of the 1540 committee is more important than it has ever been. We have all seen the devastating consequences of chemical weapons use by state and non-state actors in Syria and Salisbury. We cannot allow the international norm against the use of such dangerous weapons to break down. The possibility of WMD proliferation is real and must work together to stop that from happening through the work of the 1540 Committee and beyond.

The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) has examined issues we consider critical over the past year. In February, the CTC presented its Addendum to the Madrid Guiding Principles that provides member states practical tools to address the threat of returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters.

We also look forward to working with the CTC and member states to implement resolution 2462 to counter the financing of terrorism.

Finally, Mr. President, the United States was happy to welcome CTED to New York, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC this month as part of our assessment visit. We look forward to reviewing the results of the CTED visit and encourage other member states to work with CTED on visits of their own.

The three Committees and other relevant parts of the UN system, including the UN Office of Counterterrorism, should work closely together and take a “whole-of-UN” approach to counter terrorism. We still see many gaps and considerable overlap.

In closing, Mr. President, we will continue to promote regular and continued engagement to better understand the intentions and capabilities of terrorists. We urge these three committees to continue sharing notes on how the UN can help to build state capacity to counter terrorist threats and to advance our common security.

Thank you.