1) What September 11th really changed
Very little has changed in the emotions produced by the events and images of September 11th.
The same sense of disbelief. The unchanged feeling of empathy with the innocent victims of terrorism. We all still feel that we, too, are Americans. As Italians, we cannot forget the many people also of Italian origin who lost their lives at the WTC. As human beings, we realized on that crucial day that no single country can consider itself safe.
What has really changed is our awareness of the permanent terrorist threat and our determination to fight back.
Remarkable progress has been made, but we are constantly reminded that we cannot let down our guard by the continued existence of groups such as Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique, Boko Haram, extremists in Yemen, Afghanistan or Somalia, and even domestic terrorism in Europe.
2) Lessons learnt: comprehensive approach to terror, multilateral coordination and the rule of law
Law enforcement activities have undergone major changes in the past ten years. Techniques have improved, tracking of international financial transactions is more accurate, and cyber-propaganda is being tackled vigorously.
The need for stronger international solidarity and unity of action is self-evident. New forms of multilateral coordination have developed to exchange information and best practices. Others will follow.
The importance of criminal justice in the fight against terror is clearly highlighted in the UN Strategy, as well as in EU policies and actions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Terrorism requires a comprehensive approach, including law enforcement activities, judicial and intelligence operations, military responses, reintegration and rehabilitation measures, diplomatic initiatives, and cultural and soft-power instruments.
No strategy can achieve long-term success without a campaign on the terrain of ideas and values. There is no better way to pull the rug out from under the terrorists’ feet than a solid defence of human rights and liberties and an emphasis on integration and solidarity within our societies. Political strategies to prevent and defeat terrorist propaganda on the social networks are, for instance, as important – if not more – as military actions.
Terrorism could be considered the new totalitarianism of the 21st century. But we can fight it without compromising full respect for human rights and rule of law. This is a lesson that Italy learned some decades ago and we are proud of having defeated domestic terrorism without invoking a state of emergency.
3) Capacity building. The Italian added value.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our security borders no longer coincide with our geographic frontiers: they are often located countries, even continents away. The distinction between consumers and producers of security has blurred and we all have to do our part to contribute to both sides of the equation. Defending our people’s safety and health may imply addressing the root causes of terrorism in remote corners of the world. Hence, capacity building to grant stability and promote governance in critical areas must be at the top of our agenda.
For Italy this is not just a priority: it is the heart of our political vision, the true added value we contribute to international efforts. In this regard, I recall the widely recognized skill and success rate of our Carabinieri.
They have worked in the framework of the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, to support the federal police and also the Kurdish Peshmerga armed forces unit: an excellent example of the contribution of capacity building to a multi-faceted strategy against international terrorism.
In Afghanistan, Italy’s remarkable military commitment is complemented by a full range of initiatives to assist the Afghan-led reform in the fields of justice and security. Our complete set of programmes in the fields of rule of law, institution building, and training for judges, prosecutors and lawyers, makes us leaders in the field of training.
Italy is involved in capacity-building projects that cover a wide spectrum of other troubled areas like the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Western Africa region. We want to break up the partnerships of convenience between destabilizing factors such as terrorism and organized crime, but also piracy and uncontrolled migration.
We are more than ready to contribute to future improvements in law enforcement and capacity-building cooperation in the Mediterranean region, together with other EU and G8 partners, with the UN system and the African Union.
Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Much remains to be done to bring terrorists to justice, thwart their actions, and close the loopholes that give fertile ground to extremism.
As the Secretary-General underlined in 2010, “The implementation of the Strategy will not be complete without the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.” I therefore take this occasion to call on Member States to do their utmost to conclude as soon as possible the ongoing negotiations.