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Opinions & Interviews

4 Sep 2019

Plans to build on Minsk discussion of new technology to fight terrorism

Plans to build on Minsk discussion of new technology to fight terrorism

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) – There are plans to expand the discussion that took place at the international high-level conference "Countering terrorism through innovative approaches and the use of new and emerging technologies" in Minsk, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov told reporters on 4 September, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Voronkov noted that the conference focused on the most burning and sensitive issue of today. “I believe that the digital wave that rose in Minsk will go further involving more and more countries in the discussion of how to use new technology to prevent terrorism and to increase the efficiency of counter-terrorism efforts,” he said.

Vladimir Voronkov recalled the speech of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the opening of the conference on 3 September. He described his speech as remarkable and his initiatives as novel. “All this fleshes out the UN counter-terrorism agenda with new content and encourages a new discussion,” he noted.

“The conference highlighted Belarus’ leadership in combating terrorism in the field of new technology,” Vladimir Voronkov added.

He stated that the problem of terrorism cannot be solved fast. A great number of militants remain in Syria and Iraq. The number of terrorist attacks is decreasing, but their geography is expanding. This year terrorist attacks took place in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. “If we do not stand together, as the Belarusian president called for, terrorists will always be half a step ahead of us. We should reverse this situation,” he is convinced.

Conferences like the Minsk one are designed to build and strengthen contacts and facilitate information exchange between appropriate agencies. The Second United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States will take place in New York in June 2020. Heads of the counter-terrorism agencies will continue the debate started in Minsk. They will discuss ways to prevent terrorism and to build a world that rejects terrorism as such.

A reminder, the international forum on counter-terrorism in Minsk drew 66 delegations, including representatives of 55 states and also international non-government organizations and academic communities.

The forum aimed to discuss multilateral efforts and develop solutions at the global, regional and national levels to combat terrorists and terrorist groups amid a wider access to and a growing complexity of applied technologies. The conference was divided into three themed sessions to discuss the misuse of new technologies and artificial intelligence by terrorists, approaches and strategies to counteract terrorist propaganda and the misuse of technological progress.
The event, co-organized by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), was held in the follow-up to the international high-level meeting that took place in Minsk under the aegis of the OSCE in October 2018.

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