Fight against international terrorism and extremism, other new challenges and threats
Fight against international terrorism
In the deteriorating international environment, Russia continues to play proactive and leading role in international counter-terrorism cooperation, primarily within the United Nations and a number of other authoritative international organizations, as well as in a bilateral format.
We share grave concerns of the international community about the global terrorist threat, which has recently gained a qualitatively new and yet more alarming dimension, with the Islamic State (ISIL/DAESH) coming to the forefront of the terrorist "International", bringing terrorist violence to an unprecedented level of ferocity and claiming — for the first time in history — the establishment of its own terrorist quasi-state.
It is important to bear in mind the genesis of these most dangerous developments occurring primarily in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It is obvious to us that at a certain point some leading world actors took to irresponsible geopolitical engineering in this region that basically implies purposeful and systemic interference into domestic affairs of independent countries, destabilization and overthrow of "unwanted" regimes. It is this arrogant policy that is largely responsible for the destruction of traditional systems of governance, security mechanisms in the MENA region and the uncontrollable spread of arms and ammunition across the region, provoking an unprecedented spread of radicalization among the local population and, as a result, rampant activity of terrorist and extremist groups, first of all, but not limited to, ISIL and an equally dangerous terrorist group Al Nusrah Front.
Particular concern is caused by such universal "political" tendencies of today's international terrorism as effective exploitation by terrorists of strong public protest mood, skillful weaving of terrorism and its advocates into the fabric of regional and domestic conflicts, penetration of terrorist groups and their leaders into opposition movements with subsequent seizing of the initiative and ousting responsible and constructive political forces.
The Russian Federation is firmly convinced that the global terrorist threat should be tackled jointly on the basis of a truly collective approach with the central coordinating role of the United Nations and respect for international law while refraining from double standards. As a matter of principle, Russia believes that a genuinely effective strategy aimed at decisive and ultimate elimination of the threat emanating from major terrorist groups led by ISIL should rely on an international coalition that will act on a completely legitimate basis provided by UN decisions and will be firmly committed to international law. In our view, a step in this direction can be made through the current efforts to ensure appropriate and effective coordination of actions of the States fighting ISIL in the MENA region, within the limits of their possibilities and with the consent of the States in the territory of which this struggle is carried out.
Russia makes a valuable contribution to the strengthening of the UN‑centered international counter-terrorism system. In this respect we attach primary importance to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS), anti‑terrorism resolutions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, effective implementation of and broader participation in the universal anti-terrorism conventions.
The Russian side has been actively participating in the much-needed work to improve the international counter-terrorism regulatory framework, in particular by playing a decisive role in the elaboration of the most important resolutions intended to tackle the urgent tasks of anti-terrorism cooperation — UN Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) aimed at suppressing the activities of ISIL and ANF as well as addressing the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF).
Given the considerable strengthening of the financial basis of certain terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq, first of all ISIL and ANF, through illegal oil trade, we consider it a matter of principle to effectively implement the relevant Security Council resolutions 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015).
Russia actively supports the efforts of the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate to monitor the implementation by the States of the basic counter-terrorism resolution 1373 (2001) of the SC and the progress of a practical dialogue with the countries on the aforementioned SC resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014). With the growing threat from ISIL, Al‑Qaida and Al‑Qaida–associated groups, we consider it quite relevant to increase the effectiveness of the current UN Security Council "anti‑Al‑Qaida" sanctions regime. In addition to the introduction of more transparent working procedures for the 1267/1989/2253 Committee, we believe it important to ensure the strict fulfillment by the States of their obligations to apply sanctions measures against persons included in the corresponding list. As far as the work of the Security Council 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee is concerned, we put an emphasis on the prevention of any watering down of its anti-terrorism focus, on countering the attempts to exploit this instrument in an opportunistic manner for the purpose of some kind of political "legitimization" of the Taliban movement during the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Russia actively engages in the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and its United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism.
We advocate the harmonization of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism (CCIT) that would include a universally recognized definition of terrorism. We believe it necessary to arrive at such a solution that would be acceptable to all the UN Member States. This is the only way for this convention to become genuinely comprehensive and to serve as an efficient tool in the fight of the world community against terrorism.
International cooperation in CVE
We regard the issue of countering violent extremism (CVE), which is now gaining increased international attention, in conjunction with the prevention of terrorism, including measures to combat incitement to terrorist acts, with due consideration of the importance of anti-terrorism partnership with the civil society institutions where appropriate. We welcome the growing and ever more focused interest of the international community in this issue, especially since multi-national and multi-religious Russia has truly unique historical experience of ensuring mutual respect and understanding among different ethnic groups and religions. Russia stands ready to openly share its experience and knowledge with foreign partners in a proactive manner.
At the same time, the Russian side is cautious with actively promoted international counter violent extremism initiatives (including the US initiative on CVE launched at the so‑called Washington summit in February 2015) characterized by an obvious unwillingness of their architects to recognize in an explicit and unambiguous manner the importance to build any kind of anti‑extremism cooperation upon international law and the UN Charter, the obligation to strictly respect such principles as sovereignty and equality of States, non-interference into their domestic affairs. It is absolutely clear to us that the attempts to promote, within such initiatives, the aims of fighting against extremism ignoring legitimate governments in support of some "independent" actors or "international civil society" will only indulge radicalization and extremism, which as a result can destabilize the situation in individual countries and aggravate terrorist threats.
We are satisfied with the adequate reflection in adopted on the 1st of July 2016 by the UN General Assembly Resolution on the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the issues of realization of the UN Secretary-General's Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism, calling to take into account national ownership and priorities of the States on CVE and counter-terrorism.
On Russia's approaches to countering terrorist financing
Russia believes that efficient fight against terrorism is impossible without effective disruption of the channels of terrorist financing, as required by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is why our country pays particular attention to enhancing international cooperation in countering money laundering and terrorist financing (CML/TF).
It is important to strengthen multilateral cooperation within the FATF and to increase the role of this international institution in countering terrorist financing. The Russian Federation has consistently supported the non-politicized and strictly technical nature of the FATF activities.
Under the Russian presidency in FATF (2013–2014), a large‑scale project aimed at detecting illicit financial flows from the production and trafficking of Afghan drugs was implemented. The analysis established the link between the Afghan drug trafficking and terrorist financing and identified financial centers used for laundering the proceeds of such trafficking. It is important to keep these tracks under the FATF's control and to analyze, during a new round of the FATF mutual evaluations, measures taken by jurisdictions to prevent legalization of proceeds of Afghan drug trafficking.
At present, the efforts to cut off ISIL's financial support seem to be particularly urgent.
At the FATF October and extraordinary December Plenaries in 2015, Russia suggested that the standards of the Task Force, in particular Recommendation 5 (countering terrorist financing), should stipulate the need to ensure the States' comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2199 and 2253 elaborated with an active participation of our country, introducing a ban on trade in Syrian and Iraqi oil with ISIL. To this end, Russia proposed to engage the existing FATF mechanisms in order to put pressure on those States that fail to comply with the legally binding Security Council decisions on cutting off ISIL’s financial support.
The important decision taken in December 2015 upon Russian initiative stipulates that FATF's efforts in the nearest future will mainly focus on countering terrorist financing. This topic, with an emphasis on ISIL‑linked financial flows, was in the focus of FATF's Plenary held in Paris on February 13–19, 2016, at which Russia continued to promote its position for increasing efficiency and practical output of the actions taken jointly with the FATF’s partners.
Our country has taken an active part in the FATF projects aimed at uncovering the channels of ISIL's financial support as well as emerging terrorist financing risks. The current task is to promptly get down to the practical phase to identify concrete States, individuals and legal entities involved in economic relations with ISIL.
The Russian Federation is committed to the development of bilateral links in countering terrorist financing, including by providing our international partners with the necessary expert assistance in bringing the national CML/TF systems in compliance with the FATF standards. For this purpose, the Russian side invites foreign experts to take specialized courses at the International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM).
Russia is interested in enhancing collaboration among FATF-style regional bodies in order to bolster the global CML/TF system. It was one of Russia's priorities during its FATF presidency.
Our country is also committed to the development and strengthening of multilateral dialogue on CML/TF among financial intelligence units including through the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence.
International cooperation against the world drug problem
Russia has traditionally played a key role in addressing the world drug problem, being a party to three relevant international drug control conventions (the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) as well as a member of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
The main goal of Russia's foreign policy efforts against drugs is to significantly reduce the production and consumption of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, as well as synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances, with the long-term objective of creating a drugs-free society. These challenges should be addressed on the principles of common and shared responsibility of all States for resolving the global drug problem, an integrated and balanced approach to drug supply and demand reduction strategies and measures, including the inadmissibility of legalization of drugs for nonmedical use.
In the face of a worsening situation related to illicit drug production in Afghanistan and smuggling of drugs into other countries, including Russia, the Russian Federation prioritizes the strengthening of integrated international efforts to combat the Afghan drug threat, which has been identified by several UN documents as a threat to international peace and stability. Russia, jointly with France, sponsored the Paris Pact initiative, an international mechanism involving more than 50 States and international organizations aimed at combating the opiates originating in Afghanistan.
The Russian Federation attaches major importance to the realization of the outcome UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem which was held in New York on April 19–21, 2016, in the context of achieving the aims and objectives of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action by 2019.
The government of the Russian Federation allocates annually $2 million as a voluntary contribution to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to support the Office's anti-drug and anti-crime projects and initiatives.
Cooperation against corruption
We attach great importance to the interaction between States in combating corruption, first and foremost on the basis of the 2003 UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which is a universal international legal instrument regulating the whole range of issues related to international cooperation against corruption. We support the central coordinating role of the United Nations in this field.
We are convinced that the efforts of other international and regional anti‑corruption fora should be in line with the UN mechanism, complementing and advancing rather than replacing it.
The recent sixth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC (St. Petersburg, November 2–6, 2015) addressed a wide range of issues related to international anti-corruption cooperation, including a review of the UNCAC implementation, prevention of corruption, asset recovery, technical assistance and interaction between law enforcement and judicial institutions in the fight against corruption.
Among the ten adopted resolutions regarding the relevant aspects of cooperation in combating corruption we would like to highlight the one sponsored by the Russian Federation, which is the "St. Petersburg statement on promoting public-private partnership in the prevention of and fight against corruption". This major political document sets out the main direction of further international anti-corruption cooperation under the UN auspices.
We note that the Statement was co-sponsored by 27 countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, which demonstrates the relevance and urgency of this issue to the world community.
We also welcome the important decision to launch the second cycle of review of UNCAC implementation in 2016 adopted at the Conference. At the same time we oppose the attempts to revise the guiding principles of the Review Mechanism, which has proved its effectiveness over the time of its existence and has yielded tangible and useful results.
The functioning of the Review Mechanism as an intergovernmental process is one of its guiding principles which, along with the equal and depoliticized nature of its work, cannot be subject to any revision.
The Russian Federation accords priority to the fight against corruption. Eradication of corruption is critical to the successful development of our country. The National Plan to Counter Corruption which defines the main guidelines of Russian domestic and foreign policies in this field is adopted every two years.
On the outcomes of the meeting of the Russian Presidential Council for Countering Corruption chaired by Vladimir Putin on January 26, 2016, anti-corruption priorities for the coming years were outlined, including those providing for an increased use of international cooperation mechanisms to identify, seize and recover from foreign jurisdictions assets that had been derived from crimes involving corruption.
International information security
In the third millennium, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become one of the main challenges to global development. Virtual space is increasingly used for military, political, criminal and terrorist purposes. Cyber attacks target States, private companies and often ordinary citizens as well. Terrorists and criminals are actively harnessing the Internet. They are closely followed by certain countries that are openly building up their military capacity in the digital sphere and developing mass electronic surveillance systems.
Russia has always considered these issues a triad of military and political, terrorist, and criminal threats. We believe that in the current situation the world community should focus its efforts on preventing conflicts in the information space, exclude illicit use of ICTs, and ensure the observance of human rights in the digital sphere.
In our opinion, the most effective form of international cooperation against the whole set of threats in the field of international information security would be the adoption of universal rules of responsible behavior of States in the information space. Such rules should enshrine in the digital sphere the principles of the non-use of force, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as equal rights of all States to participate in the governance of the Internet.
Russia, jointly with the SCO Member States and its BRICS and CIS partners, has been actively promoting relevant peacekeeping initiatives in the international arena.
Namely the SCO Member States were those who launched substantive discussions on the rules of behavior of States in the information space. As early as four years ago they prepared and distributed in the United Nations the draft International Code of Conduct for Information Security. The updated version of this document that reflects the received comments has been resubmitted to the UN this year.
During its 70th session the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus the draft resolution Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security sponsored by the Russian Federation. The resolution was cosponsored by 84 States - a record number. This document provides for establishment of a UN Group of Governmental Experts on International Information Security in 2016 with a mandate to continue the study of how international law is applied to the use of ICTs by States, as well as the norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior of States, confidence-building measures and capacity-building.
Confidence-building measures are an important prerequisite to preventing potential conflicts in the use of ICTs. Considerable work in this field has been accomplished within the OSCE. In December 2013, the OSCE Permanent Council adopted the Initial Set of OSCE Confidence-Building Measures to Reduce the Risks of Conflict Stemming from the Use of Information and Communication Technologies, thus establishing the first regional mechanism for cooperation among the States to counter threats in the field of international information security and initiating the creation of a safety net in the information space stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
One of the most serious topics related to international information security is the so-called capacity-building. No doubt that the needs of developing countries in the information and communication sphere should be taken into account; however, the practical content of this topic requires specification. In this regard, it is important to ensure that capacity-building programs are not used as a cover to interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient States and that the technologies transferred are not subsequently used for purposes inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security.
The criminal factor of the triad of threats to the international information security is becoming increasingly relevant. The fight against crime in the global information space is hampered by the lack of a full-fledged international legal framework for cooperation among States. Therefore, the Russian Federation has been consistently promoting the initiative of drafting, under the UN auspices, a universal convention to combat cybercrime.
As for the use of the Internet, we keep in mind the strategic objective of internationalizing the governance of this network and enhancing the role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in this context. It is necessary to ensure equal rights for all States to participate in Internet governance, as well as the sovereign right of States to regulate and ensure the security of their national segments.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
The Financial Action Task Force is an inter-governmental body developing international standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing (AML/CFT/PF), as well as evaluating the compliance of national AML/CFT/PF systems with these standards. The FATF was established in 1989 by the decision of the Group of Seven, and currently is supervised by the Group of Twenty. The FATF comprises 35 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations; 9 FATF-Style Regional Bodies as its associate members; and 28 international organizations and structures and 2 States as its observers. The FATF's headquarters is located in the building of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.
The FATF decisions are taken by consensus at plenary meetings that take place thrice a year (in February, June and October). Preparation of draft decisions and formulation of relevant recommendations and proposals is carried out by the FATF Secretariat and the following working groups:
Global Network Coordination Group;
Policy Development Group;
Risks, Trends and Methods Group;
Evaluations and Compliance Group;
International Cooperation Review Group.
The Forty Recommendations on AML/CFT/PF (the current version was adopted in February 2012 and subsequently amended in February 2013, October 2015, and in June and October 2016) recognized as international standards is the FATF's main instrument for the fulfillment of its mandate. At the national level, the FATF Recommendations are implemented by financial intelligence units (FIUs) responsible for the receipt and analysis of financial information to identify the proceeds of criminal activity, money‑laundering techniques, as well as sources and channels of the financing of terrorism and proliferation in order to further suppress such criminal activity.
The Russian Federation has been a FATF member since 2003; a member of the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism since the founding of the Committee in 1997; initiator of the establishment of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism in 2004; and observer of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering since 2010. The Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) serves as a FIU in our country.
In September 2014, Russia defended its third national progress report on improvements in its AML/CFT system, following which it was removed from FATF regular follow-up until the next evaluation in 2018.
Our country presided over the FATF from July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2014. A large-scale project aimed at detecting illicit financial flows linked to the production and trafficking of Afghan drugs, which was implemented at the Russian initiative, is one of the key outcomes of the Russian presidency. Two principal conclusions were drawn from the analysis of a considerable amount of information. Firstly, the link between Afghan drug money and financing of terrorism was confirmed. Secondly, 11 presumable global centers for money laundering where identified. The Russian Delegation regularly raises with the FATF the issue of ensuring special control over the activities of these centers and taking due account of practical findings of the conducted study in the current FATF work.
Russia has taken an active part in the FATF investigations aimed at uncovering the channels of ISIL's financial support, as well as new sources of financing of terrorism (the reports were approved at the FATF plenary meetings in February and October 2015 correspondingly).
Thanks to the efforts taken by Russia at the plenary meeting that took place in Paris in October 2016, it was decided to amend the FATF Standards – Interpretive Note to Recommendation 5 and Glossary – in order to ensure the full implementation of the UNSC resolutions 2199 and 2253 aimed at strengthening the regime for suppressing the channels of illicit support rendered to ISIL and related terrorist groups through illegal trade in oil, oil products, weapons, antiques and other recourses. Thus, for the first time in the 25-year history of the FATF, upon the initiative of Russia, changes were made to the universal standards for combating the financing of terrorism, which now explicitly prohibit not only financial, but also any other kind of material support to ISIL, including trade in hydrocarbons and other natural resources. It was also decided at the initiative of our country to conduct an in-depth study on combating the financing of ISIL at all subsequent FATF meetings and to update information on sources and channels of financial and economic support for Islamic State trice a year.
Anti-Terrorism Cooperation within the CIS
Cooperation against the terrorist threat in the CIS is undertaken within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center (CIS ATC) and bilaterally.
The decision to establish the Center was taken at the CIS Summit in June 2000. The Regulation on the CIS ATC was approved by the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States in December 2000. The ATC's headquarters is located in Moscow. In accordance with the decision of the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States as of October 2002, the Center has an office in the Central Asian region located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The CIS ATC is an independent permanent specialized institution of the Commonwealth designed to coordinate interaction of special services, law enforcement authorities of CIS Member States in combating international terrorism and other manifestations of extremism. It is responsible for assisting relevant bodies of the Commonwealth countries in conducting operational activities and integrated operations against international terrorism, interstate tracking of criminals, and training of professionals of anti-terrorism units. It is also tasked with exchange of information with special services, law enforcement authorities and relevant cooperating bodies, collecting and analyzing data on terrorism situation and trends. The Center maintains a bank of data on persons who are on interstate wanted lists on charges of terrorism-related offences, and their possible hideouts. The ATC participates in the preparation of legal acts regulating the Center's activities as well as in the drafting and legal support of documents aimed at improving the international legal framework for combating terrorism and extremism.
The Center is guided by three-year Programs of Cooperation of the CIS Member States in Combating Terrorism and Other Violent Acts of Extremism regularly approved by decisions of the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States (the Program for 2017‑2019 was approved on September 16, 2016, at the meeting of the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States in Bishkek).
The ATC works in cooperation with relevant Commonwealth structures – Council of Heads of Security Bodies and Special Services, Council of Commanders of Border Troops, Council of Defense Ministers, Council of Ministers of Internal Affairs, Council of Heads of Customs Services, Coordinating Council of Attorney-Generals, Bureau for the Coordination of the Fight against Organized Crime and Other Crimes in the CIS, etc.
Guided by bilateral memorandums and protocols, the Center develops relations with the following international organizations and structures: Counter‑Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate of the UN Security Council, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, etc.
On October 16, 2015, the Council of the Heads of CIS Member States adopted the Statement on Fighting International Terrorism initiated by Russia. The Statement on Further Joint Efforts to Combat International Terrorism proposed by Russia and adopted by the CIS Heads of State on September 16, 2016, contains important language, including on the formation of a wide international coalition against ISIL.
Russia conducts regular bilateral consultations on combating terrorism with key CIS partners to coordinate approaches and positions at the main international fora.
Consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the US Member States, on relevant issues in addressing new challenges and threats, with participation of representatives of competent Russian agencies and relevant CIS structures, organized at the initiative and under the chairmanship of the Russian Federation, are held annually in Moscow.
New challenges and threats in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)
The CSTO is an integral component for regional security in the post-Soviet area. The Organization is being transformed into a multifunctional structure addressing the whole range of challenges and threats to the security of Member States, as requested by the Council on Collective Security (CCS) in 2006 in order to address new challenges and threats (NCT) more effectively. In October 2016, the CSTO CCS endorsed The Strategy of CSTO Collective Security for the Period through 2025, and adopted the Joint Statement by the Member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization on Countering International Terrorism (announced on during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly October 3, 2016).
The Working Group on Afghanistan has been operating under the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs since 2006 (the latest meeting took place in Moscow on March 29, 2016). Its priority areas of work include monitoring the situation in Afghanistan, assisting Tajikistan in strengthening the Tajik-Afghan border, and training personnel for anti-drug, law enforcement, and border control structures of Afghanistan and Central Asian countries in of higher education institutions of CSTO member states.
Working groups on counter-terrorism, combating illegal migration, information policy and security have been operating under the CSTO Committee of Secretaries of the Security Council (CSSC). In December 2014, the Anti-drug Strategy of Member States was approved and the CSTO Consultative Coordination Center on Addressing Computer Incidents was established. In October 2016, the Center for Crisis Response was founded, tasked with information, analytical, organizational and technical support for decision-making by statutory bodies of the Organization. There are plans to establish a center for anti-drug operations.
In February 2009, the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) was set up; it holds joint integrated exercises with the participation of CSTO Member States contingents and operational teams on a regular basis. Since 2004, exercises of Central Asian Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CA CRRF) have been held regularly, including with a focus on countering terrorism. The first joint exercise of intelligence services of armed forces of CSTO Member States "Poisk‑2016" took place in Tajikistan in April 2016; special tactical joint exercises of departments of internal affairs agencies (police) Kobalt‑2016 took place in Armenia in May; the Rubezh‑2016 joint combined-corps exercises were held in Kyrgyzstan in July; Nerushimoye bratstvo‑2016 and Vzaimodeistvie‑2016 exercises were held in Belarus and Russia (Pskov Region) in August. During the exercises, training operations are carried out to drill the countering of the illegal armed groups’ invasions into the territory of the CSTO member states, and the activities of units of defense against hacking and information-psychological attacks are fine-tuned.
Since 2003, the Kanal international anti-drug operation has been carried out in the territory of the CSTO member states (it became permanent in 2008, however, it was not carried out in 2016 due to restructuring of the MIA of Russia). The primary objective of the operation is to cut off the conduits for smuggling drugs from Afghanistan into the territory of the CSTO member states with the participation of competent authorities of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The CSTO maintains contact with the UN structures, including the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In September 2016, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the CSTO Secretariat and CTED. Similar documents are in force between the CSTO and the SCO Secretariats, as well as the CIS Executive Committee. In October 2016, a formation mechanism was elaborated and a unified list of organizations recognized as terrorist in the CSTO format was approved.
The PROKSI ("Countering Crime in the Information Sphere") permanent operation is carried out to fight crime in the CSTO information field.
Providing security for sports and other major international events, inter-alia, taking into account the experience obtained at the Summer Universiade and the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Russia, the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, is considered as an advanced area of cooperation in the framework of the CSTO.
The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (RATS SCO)
The RATS SCO was established in accordance with the Agreement between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of June 7, 2002.
The RATS SCO is a permanent body of the SCO intended to facilitate coordination and cooperation of competent authorities of the SCO member states in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism.
The main objectives and functions of the RATS SCO are those of elaborating proposals and recommendations on developing cooperation for the respective SCO structures; supporting competent authorities of the SCO member states; collecting and analyzing information received by the RATS from the SCO member states; participating in preparing international legal documents; assisting in training specialists and instructors for anti-terrorist units; establishing and maintaining working contacts with international organizations that address the issues of combating terrorism, separatism and extremism.
The RATS SCO bodies:
The RATS SCO Council consists of representatives (heads) of competent authorities of the SCO member states. Meetings of the Council are usually held twice a year. China is chairing the Council from September 2016 to September 2017. Decisions in the Council are taken by consensus.
The RATS SCO Executive Committee (31 employees) carries out its tasks and functions in the following areas:
1. Operational coordination activities;
2. International contacts and ties;
3. Information and analysis activities;
4. Legal support;
5. Administrative and financial activities.
The Director is the highest administrative officer of the RATS SCO Executive Committee and is appointed on a rotational basis by the SCO Council of Heads of State for a three-year term without the right of prolongation for the next term. Since January 1, 2016, this post has been occupied by the representative of Russia Yevgueniy Sysoyev.
An institution of permanent representatives of the SCO member states was founded under the RATS SCO.
In June 2012, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin proposed to reform the RATS SCO and subsequently create within it a universal center for countering challenges and threats to security, the main goal of which would be to address comprehensively international terrorism and extremism, illicit drug trafficking, translational organized crime. Within the framework of implementing the proposal of Vladimir Putin, in July 2014, the MFA of Russia suggested that, in the first phase, a working group on combating the financing of terrorism by drug trafficking should be formed. The SCO Council of Heads of State (July 10, 2015, Ufa) adopted the Program of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in the Fight against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2016‑2018. At the initiative of the Russian interministerial delegation, on April 8, 2016, the RATS SCO Council endorsed a Joint Action Plan of Competent Authorities of the SCO Member States on Countering Challenges and Threats Emanating from ISIL.
New Challenges and Threats (NCT) the Framework of the ASEAN‑Russia Dialogue Partnership
Since July 1996, Russia has been working with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a full dialogue partner. On July 2, 2004, in Jakarta, Indonesia, a Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism was adopted.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia annually participates in the ASEAN Postministerial Conferences with dialogue partners in the ‘ASEAN-Plus-One’ format. A regular Russia-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held on July 25, 2016 at Vientiane, Laos.
On May 19-20, 2016, the anniversary ASEAN‑Russia Summit was held in Sochi on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership. During the Summit the leaders reaffirmed the importance of further strengthening cooperation in order to effectively counter terrorism and other challenges and threats to security. The priority tasks in this area are enshrined in the Sochi Declaration (para. 6‑8) adopted on May 20, as well as in the Comprehensive Plan of Action, which includes an enlarged paragraph on counter-terrorism and transnational crime (para. 17‑43), and a paragraph on cooperation in Information and Communication Technology (para. 91‑95).
The Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and the Joint Working Group Meeting on Counter Terrorism (JWG on CT) are held annually in the framework of the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership. Both meetings are held on an inter-agency level (the MFA, FSC, MIA and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) from the Russian side), coordinated by Russia.
At the first meeting of the JWG on CT (Myanmar, 2009) the ASEAN–Russia Work Plan on Countering Terrorism and Transnational Crime was elaborated. In the framework of its implementation cooperation areas are the following: countering terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and piracy, WMD-terrorism, combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, critical infrastructure protection, ensuring cyber-security.
The seventh meeting of the JWG on CT and the eleventh meeting of the SOM on TNC were held on May 23 and May 26, 2016 respectively in Jakarta, Indonesia. In October-November 2012, for the first time in Soviet/Russian history, training for experts of law-enforcement and special services of the ASEAN countries in the sphere of combating terrorism and extremism, including the aspects of countering the financing of terrorism, was conducted in Moscow on an interagency level (the MFA, MIA, and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring)) under the coordination of the MFA. Since then, such advance training is provided on an annual basis. Similar drills within the FSC and the MIA took place in 2016 and were highly appreciated by the partners.
New Challenges and Threats (NCT) in the Framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum on Security (ARF)
The ASEAN Regional Forum on security established in 1994 is a leading mechanism of region-wide political dialogue on the whole range of issues concerning maintenance of peace and stability in the APR.
The APR comprises 27 participants: 10 ASEAN members (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), 10 dialogue partners of the Association (Australia, Canada, European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and United States), as well as Bangladesh, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste., Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan have submitted their applications to participate in the Forum. Since January 1, 2017, the ARF is chaired by Philippines.
Strengthening multifaceted cooperation with the ARF participating States in countering terrorism and other new challenges and threats is one of Russian priorities. Countering new challenges and threats is discussed in the framework of the Inter-Sessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (ISM on CTTC), as well as the Inter-Sessional Support Group Meeting on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy (ISG on CBMs and PD). In 2016-2017 inter-sessional years, India and Indonesia are co-chairs of the ISM on CTTC, Canada and Philippines are co-chairs of the ISG on CBMs and PD.
The most recent meeting of the ISM on CTTC took place on March 21‑22, 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Upon the Russian initiative the meeting was focused on consolidating efforts of the participating countries aimed at prevention of all forms of material and financial support to ISIL.
The agreed anti-terror obligations of the participants are enshrined in the ARF Cooperation Framework on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime, endorsed by the Ministers in Manila in 2007.
The main areas of counter-terrorism cooperation within the ARF framework are enshrined in the Work Plan on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (WP) that is regularly updated in order to focus the efforts of the ARF participating States on key items of the agenda of the specialized ARF inter-sessional meetings. The current WP for 2015-2017 was endorsed at the ARF Foreign Ministers Meeting in August 2015 in Malaysia. Such areas of high priority for Russia as security of and in the use of information and communication technologies, combating illicit drugs, WMD-terrorism, trafficking in persons, and counter radicalization are enshrined in the WP. Upon the Russian proposal, countering terrorist financing and money laundering was also included in the document.
APEC Counter Terrorism Working Group (CTWG)
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) is a regional platform of high priority for Russia that allows implementing and promoting specific counter-terrorism initiatives in the most effective way.
In 2003, the APEC Counter Terrorism Task Force was established, and in 2013, it was transformed into a permanent APEC mechanism, i.e. the Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG).
In 2011-2012, Russia and the United States co-chaired the CTWG. In 2011, with an active participation of the Russian side the APEC Consolidated Counter-Terrorism Strategy was elaborated and endorsed by the leaders of the Forum.
The CTWG is an efficient multifaceted mechanism of sharing information about terrorist threats in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), a platform for discussion of such urgent issues as ensuring transport, food, border and cyber-security, countering the financing of terrorism and preventing cross-border movements of foreign terrorist fighters, ensuring security at major international events and critical infrastructure security, and attracting business sector to deal with new challenges and threats in the APEC region.
On August 20, 2016, in Lima, Peru, was held the Tenth Conference on Secure Trade in the APEC Region co-sponsored by Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Peru. Russia organized and moderated a special session on counter-terrorism aspects of secure supply chains in the APR.
The Russian inter-agency delegation (the MFA, the FSC, the MIA, the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring)) regularly participate in the CTWG meetings held twice or thrice a year.