September 22, 2016
At the outset, I want to thank you for the initiative to
convene this meeting on the issue of terrorist threats to civil aviation, which
has become increasingly topical for the entire international community.
I also thank our today’s briefer, Secretary-General of the
International Civil Aviation Organization Ms. Fang Liu, for providing an
extensive outlook on the topic and the work of the UN and its specialized
agencies in this field.
It would be remiss of me not to commend efforts of the
United Kingdom, which we appreciate, in preparing the resolution that was
Key words — “civil aviation” and “terrorist attacks” —
remind me immediately of tragic events of September 11, 2001 that occurred just
a few blocks down from here. This heinous crime generated indignation towards
its perpetrators and compassion to those who lost their lives. Fifteen years
ago, the international community was prompted to take decisive steps in the
fight against terrorism and to strengthen security regulations in the civil
aviation to reduce terrorist risks in this sphere.
Nevertheless, terrorist threats to air transportation
systems, posed especially by such terrorist organizations as ISIL and Al Qaeda,
continue to grow.
They take different forms, such as terrorist shootings to
bring down the aircraft, or smuggling explosives on board the aircraft to be
exploded in midair, or hijacking and using the aircraft as an improvised guided
cruise missile, or exploiting the airways to move fighters and human or
material resources to conflict zones. Among other challenges are also attempts
to compromise security at the airports, including cyber-attacks, as well as
conventional terrorist attacks in the airports; insider threats; threats of use
of improvised explosive devices, man-portable air-defense
systems and other surface-to-air missiles against civilian targets on the
tarmac, including during their takeoff or landing.
Despite the activities of the ICAO and other relevant
organizations dealing with issues of aviation security, there is a persistent
need to improve the mechanism of states’ cooperation in this field and to
increase their capacity to confront the terrorist threat.
Holding today’s meeting at such a high level proves the
importance of this issue and the common understanding of the need to improve
public confidence in safe air travel.
Airports have long been attractive targets for terrorist
groups attempting to cause numerous civilian casualties. Due to importance of
air transportation system in ensuring proper functioning of modern societies,
its destruction or disruptions of its work are bound to attract a significant
level of public attention.
Taking into consideration recent terrorist attacks against
airports in Belgium (in March 2016 in Brussels) and Turkey (in June 2016 in
Istanbul), provisions concerning protection of such critical infrastructure
facilities should be duly reflected in terrorism prevention programs.
States should conduct specialized vulnerability assessments,
in collaboration with airport operators and stakeholders, to identify weaknesses,
interdependencies, and ways of improving protection of airports against a
growing number of diverse threats, both physical and cyber. Close cooperation
between relevant state authorities in this field with private operators should
also be maintained.
Speaking about the role of the UN Security Council, we
believe it should address this problem within the context of its overall
activities aimed at countering terrorist threats, by mobilizing international
efforts aimed at diminishing a mere possibility of such attacks.
We believe there is an urgent need for the United Nations
and its specialized bodies together with the ICAO to develop preventive
measures against possible threats as well as to ensure strict and effective
international and national controls on import, export, transfer or retransfer
and storage of MANPADS and other missile weapons to mitigate associated
On July 17, 2014 the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot
down by terrorists in the sky over the eastern part of Ukraine killing 298
innocent people. This terrible atrocity is a potent reminder of the gravity of
threat to the civil aviation from terrorist groups armed with sophisticated
In this regard, I underscore the need for a full implementation
of resolution 2166 (2014), in particular with regard to the Security Council
demand to bring to account those responsible for this incident and to cooperate
fully with efforts to establish accountability.
As you may recall, Mr President, the last year effort to set
up an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible was sabotaged in
this Chamber, due to the veto of one permanent member. Such a tribunal, I am
confident, would have been our most effective instrument to respond to this
heinous crime. Nevertheless, we continue our work with other partner States
within the Joint Investigation Team to address this situation and to present
options for a mechanism to establish accountability.
The mentioned horrendous crime prompted the ICAO to take
several initiatives related to conflict zones, including establishing the Task
Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones, setting up the
Conflict Zone Information Repository, as well as publishing a detailed guidance
on threats posed to commercial flights by surface-to-air missile systems.
We strongly support these ICAO activities and call for
enhancement of the global system of information sharing about such threats. It
is also imperative that special attention to conflict zones is given in the
process of risk assessments during mapping flight routes.
Here I would also like to highlight another important issue.
The responsibility for air traffic services in the High Seas over the
Simferopol Flight Information Region was delegated to Ukraine by the regional
air navigation agreements, as approved by ICAO Council Decision in February
1997. Ukraine faithfully fulfills its
responsibilities and provides air traffic services in accordance with the ICAO
Standards and Recommended Practices.
Since the illegal occupation of Crimea in April 2014, the
Russian Federation started interfering in the international emergency frequency
in Air Traffic Service provided by Ukraine. Such actions create serious threats
for flights within international airspace over the High Seas and run counter to
the Chicago Convention and its Annexes 15 and 11, as well as relevant ICAO
regulations in this area.
Having unilaterally resorted to the provision of air
navigation services within the Simferopol FIR, the Russian Federation has also
violated the UN GA resolution on territorial integrity of Ukraine 262 adopted
in March 2014.
It is obvious that publication of aeronautical information
by the Russian Federation can be regarded as nothing else but an attempt to
legitimize its unlawful activities.
We wish to emphasize the importance of strict adherence to
the Standard and Recommended Practices of ICAO by all member states without any
exceptions, especially in the airspace over the High Seas.
At present, use of explosive devices
constitute a significant threat to civil aviation. The urgency of this
risk is underlined by a number of incidents in 2015 and 2016 (namely, Metrojet flight 9268 on 31 October 2015 above the Northern
Sinai, Daallo Airlines flight 3159 on 2 February 2016
Moreover, modern technologies that allow for production of
non-traceable weapons components brings this threat to
a new level.
It calls for introduction of additional security enhancements
at the airports, including screening protocols to reduce the risk of explosives
or weapons entering premises of being smuggled on board the aircraft by
passengers or facility employees.
Information sharing among international partners is another
tool to address challenges faced by international civil aviation.
Therefore, we encourage Member States to strengthen sharing
agreements with foreign partners and to continue working closely with law
enforcement and intelligence community, and competent international
organizations, as Interpol, to monitor for watchlisted
This also brings us to the issue of stemming the flow of
foreign terrorist fighters, by countering their transit in line with UNSC
Resolutions 1373, 1624 and 2178, and implementing the Council’s travel bans for
We believe that the primary obligation to prevent the movements of FTFs lies
primarily with the source countries, which have to spot and stop FTF flows at
the earliest stages.
We support universal implementation of Advanced Passenger
Information and Passenger Name Record data systems throughout the world, as
well as an active use of INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document database,
to check travelers’ information against current
sanctions lists. If duly implemented, these measures can be a classical win-win
scenario for governments and airlines.
We call for the ICAO and other relevant international
organizations to assist those Member States in need to ensure universal
implementation of the above-mentioned standards.
In conclusion, I would like to note that by adopting today’s
resolution we have sent a strong message to the international community to
focus its efforts on developing new standards of aviation security to confront
terrorist threats to civil aviation.
To neutralize these threats effectively we must ensure that
our global and national plans to combat the terrorism scourge, including those
introduced within the UN, are adaptive and responsive to emerging
The United Nations, its counterterrorism agencies and
bodies, like the Counterterrorism Executive Directorate and the
Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force, as well as the ICAO must play an
active role in strengthening Member States capacities to achieve the said goal.