Cairo, Egypt - On the occasion of a three-day visit to Cairo by Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, Head of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA), in cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a high-level dinner on 3 March 2018. The dinner brought together high-level Egyptian officials from the ministries of defense, interior, foreign affairs, and social solidarity, the diplomatic community in Cairo, and the regional directors of UN agencies in Cairo.
Mr. Voronkov delivered a keynote speech titled “The Role of the United Nations in Counter-Terrorism”. He commended Egypt’s current battle against terrorism, as well as its leadership during Egypt’s Chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, under which “a number of crucial resolutions were adopted to upgrade the counter-terrorism responses of Member States”. Mr. Voronkov stressed that promoting international cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism, in the context of all four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, is a top priority for the Secretary-General and the United Nations. He highlighted the importance of the upcoming review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States - that the Secretary-General will convene in New York, in June 2018 - as “unprecedented opportunities to enhance Member States’ collaboration”.
Ambassador Ehab Fawzi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs and International Security Affairs, affirmed Egypt’s support to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and stressed upon the necessity of renewed and concerted global efforts to formulate a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach capable of addressing all aspects of terrorism.
Minister Plenipotentiary Ashraf Swelam, Director-General of CCCPA, highlighted the Cairo Center’s efforts to build local community resilience against radicalization and extremism leading to terrorism, notably in Nigeria and Somalia, as well as its current role in drafting operational guidance notes to guide countering violent extremism (CVE) and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) practitioners in complex and asymmetric contexts.
During discussions with attendees, Mr. Voronkov stressed upon the importance of engaging youth and developing potent counter narratives as two essential tools to fighting terrorism. He also indicated that terminologies and definitions of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism vary according to context, and that it is more important to focus on the practical levels of prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE) efforts.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism was established in June 2017 to provide leadership on the implementation of General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence, and to strengthen the delivery of the United Nations counter-terrorism capacity building assistance to Member States.