Russia Provides $500,000 To Disrupt Terrorists' Arms Supply In Central Asia - Nebenzia

UNITED NATIONS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd February, 2020) Russia has provided half a million Dollars for a new UN project aimed at helping Central Asian countries counter the trafficking of weapons to terrorists, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said at the launch of the initiative on Friday.

"Russia allocated half a million dollars for the implementation of the first phase of the project and intends to provide expert assistance, if necessary," Nebenzia said.

The program will be co-implemented by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) throughout 2020-2021. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also provided financial assistance for the implementation of the project.

Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov told reporters that Central Asia was chosen as a starting point for the program because of its proximity to regions with high terrorist activity. Countries in Central Asia also have an "outstanding" track record in terms of cooperating to counter illicit arms trafficking, he said.

"It is a significant project, and we hope that it will develop fast because terrorism remains a very serious threat, and cutting off its supply channels is one of the most important goals of the United Nations," Voronkov said.

According to Nebenzia, disrupting arms supplies to terrorist groups represents a critical element in the counter-terrorism strategy.

"There is an example of Syria, where jihadists, such as the Islamic State (IS, banned in Russia) and other terrorist groups, were fully equipped with arms and for a long time had been able to resist not only the armies of Syria and Iraq but also the Coalition," Nebenzia explained.

The diplomat said Russia had acquired expertise and experience in Syria in tackling the schemes, both illegal and legal, used by terrorists to stockpile weapons and stands ready to share this knowledge with partners.