“Whole government” approach to fighting terror

Sri Lanka will take a “whole of government” approach to fighting global terror, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

A number of decisions that were arrived at after discussions with United Nations experts this week will help coordinate the government’s efforts, a statement from the ministry said today (12).

UN Assistant Secretary General (ASG) and Executive Director of the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) Michèle Coninsx was in Colombo last week and helped spearhead the changes.

Sri Lanka will collaborate “with UN mechanisms in keeping with international norms and practices,” the release said.

The subjects covered included terrorist financing and asset freezing, dealing with foreign terrorist fighters, the counter terrorism legislation, countering radicalization and violent extremism, effective border management against terrorist travel, and the threat posed by the internet and social media in spreading radical ideology and violent extremism, the release said.

At an interactive dialogue held at the Defence Ministry co-chaired by Secretary Defence Shantha Kottegoda and Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, following a comprehensive briefing on the action taken by the security forces following the attacks and future action contemplated, the need for a “Whole of Government” approach to counter terrorism and violent extremism was emphasised.

The Foreign and Defence Ministries collaborated in designating the three groups involved in the suicide bombings – National Thowheed Jama’at (NTJ), Jama’athe Milla’the Ibrahim (JMI) and Willayath As Seylani (WAS), – as ‘terrorist entities’ under Sri Lanka’s domestic legislation.

This gives effect to terrorist financing and asset freezing aspects of the Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).

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