Defeating terrorism through a comprehensive approach (Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)

Combating ISIS, the Al-Nusrah Front and other terrorist cells that have long been growing in the Middle East, has now become a top international priority.

Russia has consistently advocated closer international cooperation to combat all kinds of terrorism and to renounce dual standards and the division of terrorists into “good” and “bad” ones. Such task cannot be sacrificed to ideological schemes or desire to settle scores. Whatever slogans they use as a cover, terrorists must be outlawed.

At the same time, of course, combating terrorism should be firmly based on the international law. The unanimous adoption of a series of UN Security Council resolutions, including on the issue of foreign terrorist militants, was an important step in this direction. On the contrary, trying to act in defiance of the UN Charter doesn’t add to the success of joint efforts.

Terrorists in the territory of Syria must be combatted in cooperation with the Syrian Government, which has clearly indicated its willingness to do so. Damascus has proved its ability to interact with the international community by having fulfilled its commitments under the program for the elimination of chemical weapons.

When it comes to Iraq, focus must be made on finding joint approaches through the UN. We need to launch, under the auspices of the Security Council, a comprehensive analysis of the issue of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa in all its dimensions. We propose convening a representative UN-sponsored forum of all countries in the region, the African Union, the Arab League, the permanent UN Security Council members and other concerned parties. It is necessary to look into the deep roots of regional problems rather than deal only with their symptoms. We are willing to cooperate on an equal basis, starting with an honest collective analysis to identify the reasons behind the problems and to find ways out of this chaos.