Image Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP
In a vote presided over by President Obama, the U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a historic resolution aimed at stopping the flow of foreign extremists to battlefields around the world.
It was rare session of the security council attended by heads of state – only the sixth of its kind in the organ’s 68-year history – all 15 member states voted for a US-backed resolution that seeks to step up the battle against “foreign terrorist fighters,” as President Obama described them.
The agreement from the world body’s highest panel was designed to tackle, Obama said, the new threat of the “unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to conflict zones, most recently Syria and Iraq”.
He added: “These terrorists exacerbate conflicts; they pose an immediate threat to people in these regions; and as we’ve already seen in several cases, they may try to return to their home countries to carry out deadly attacks.”
Resolution 2178, which criminalizes traveling abroad to fight for extremist organizations as well as the recruiting for or funding of such groups, was adopted by all 15 members of the Security Council. According to Reuters: "It generally targets fighters traveling to conflicts anywhere in the world. It does not mandate military force to tackle the foreign fighter issue."
The U.N. resolution expresses concern that "foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their states of origin, the states they transit, and the states to which they travel."
President Obama, who was the first U.S. president to chair a Security Council meeting in 2009, thanked members for approving the historic measure, but warned that "a resolution alone will not be enough." The vote follows an address by the president in which he warned that inaction on extremism and other global threats could pull the world into "an undertow of instability."
"The words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action," Obama said.
The president said 15,000 fighters from 80 nations were thought to have traveled to Syria since the conflict there began.
The resolution is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes it legally binding for the 193 U.N. member states and gives the Security Council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or force.
Source: AP News