UN calls for focus on terrorism’s roots

The U.N. Security Council on Monday called for a more coordinated international effort to focus on the root causes of terrorism such as poverty and intolerance and urged greater support for smaller countries trying to fight the scourge.

Terrorism “will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures, and intelligence operations alone,” the council said in a statement approved by all 15 members at the end of a meeting attended by many of the council’s foreign ministers.

The council said a lack of development, peace and security, and human rights can help spread terrorism, and that rule of law, peaceful resolution of prolonged conflicts, good governance, tolerance and the protection of fundamental freedoms can “offer a viable alternative to those who could be susceptible to terrorist recruitment and to radicalization leading to violence.”

Opening the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Education, development, intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention all have growing relevance in addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.”

“We must do more to understand the reasons people are drawn to violence, so that we can do more to prevent others from following that path,” the U.N. chief said.

British Foreign Minister William Hague, representing one of the council’s five permanent members, said international support was especially critical for flood-ravaged Pakistan”so that the instability and human misery of today do not become the recruiting sergeants of tomorrow. ”

“Terrorists will try to exploit disasters, instability, alienation and conflict wherever they can, seeking to harness poverty or political grievances to violent ends,” he said.

Efforts to ease suffering in Pakistan “essential in and of themselves, also help undermine the ideology of violent extremism and deplete the ranks of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups,” Hague added.

The council also called for more coordination among countries to combat terrorism.

“Countering terrorism is not a task that any country can achieve on its own,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

She said the statement “calls for all nations to be vigilant and creative, as well as receptive to new ideas and willing to set aside failed strategies.”

“We are far more likely to succeed in thwarting terrorist networks like al-Qaida and its syndicate organizations if we work together to track their actions,” Clinton said. “These groups have a global view and we must have one two that begins with a shared understanding of the big picture.”

Turkey, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, chose the global fight against terrorism as the topic of what is becoming an annual high-level council meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual ministerial session.

“There is a worrying increase in the number of vulnerable states and regions where terrorist groups find ample opportunity to recruit, train and plot attacks,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahiviet Davutoglu. “The U.N., in particular the Security Council, needs to ensure that its focus goes beyond combating terrorism. It should be more comprehensive and focus also on efforts geared toward preventing terrorism.”