Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha who is presently leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, met with Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and his team and Ms. Michéle Coninsx, Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) and Executive Director of the Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week. Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, and other senior officials were associated with the Foreign Secretary.
The Secretary thanked the UN and the international community who unreservedly condemned the Easter Sunday attacks, and for supporting the Government in numerous ways. He particularly noted that the recent visit undertaken by the ASG and Executive Director of the CTED, Ms. Michéle Coninsx had provided an opportunity to draw on international best practices in consolidating domestic efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism among the relevant stakeholders.
The Foreign Secretary briefed Mr. Voronkov on recent visits undertaken by several Ministers and counter terrorism Coordinators - from the UK, EU, the US, and Australia, as well as an expert from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF). Following the latter visit, the areas identified for immediate attention included community policing, youth engagement for social cohesion, monitoring social media, activities targeting vulnerable community hotspots and deradicalization.
Under-Secretary-General Voronkov noted work done to strengthen border management, implementation of the Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR). In this regard, he expressed the readiness of the UN to provide further assistance to Sri Lanka in future endeavours in integrating with the API/PNR system and in countering violent extremism. He assured that his office will coordinate with the GoSL on the priorities, during an upcoming visit to Sri Lanka.
ASG Coninsx welcomed the close engagement and the high level of cooperation between CTED and Sri Lanka. Ms. Coninsx said that the UN is developing a framework for cooperation with Sri Lanka. This will include measures to be taken that would help Sri Lanka to be compliant with international counter terrorism obligations under relevant Security Council Resolutions on returning foreign terrorist fighters and countering violent extremism, as well as border security.
Secretary Aryasinha said Sri Lanka was adopting a whole-of-Government approach in addressing the areas of concern and that it was important that programmes of assistance are tangible and can be integrated within Sri Lanka’s plans. In this regard, the ASG and the Foreign Secretary agreed on the need for both GoSL and the UN to work together to identify tangible actions which will serve the interest of the country.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was established through the adoption of General Assembly resolution 71/291 on 15 June 2017, to enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact (former CTITF) Task Force, to strengthen counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States, and to improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts.
The CTED was established by the UN Security Council as a special political mission to assist the UN Security Council’s Counter –Terrorism Committee (CTC), and is tasked with carrying out the policy decisions of the CTC, conduct expert assessments of Member States and facilitate counter-terrorism technical assistance to countries.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
02 October 2019