RATS SCO is always open for cooperation in the interests of consolidating international efforts to combat terrorism

December 9, 2017 09:48

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E.Sysoev

DUSHANBE, 09.12.2017. /NIAT “Khovar”/. The Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO is a permanent body. The headquarters of the organization is located in Tashkent, the capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The SCO Executive Committee in its activities is guided by the provisions of the SCO Charter, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Agreement among the SCO Member States on the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure, and other documents and decisions adopted within the framework of the SCO.

On the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism in the framework of the RATS SCO, the correspondent of Narodnaya Gazeta held a conversation with the director of the Executive Committee of this organization Yevgeny Sysoev.

– According to the statutory documents, the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a specialized permanent body of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the field of combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. The RATS assists in coordinating the interaction of the competent bodies of the SCO member states in this area. What practical mechanisms of anti-terrorist cooperation does the RATS use? What progress has been made?

– The establishment and development of the RATS SCO is connected, on the one hand, with the need to create an institutional and legal framework for long-term cooperation between states on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, and on the other hand, ensuring timely response to new challenges and threats to the security of SCO member states.

The years that have passed since the beginning of the work of the RATS have shown that the Organization is successfully coping with the statutory tasks. This was repeatedly noted at the summits of the heads of SCO member states, as well as in the UN General Assembly Resolution 71/14 of November 21, 2016: “The SCO has become the most important regional organization to consider the issue of security in all its aspects”.

Effective work of the two bodies of the RATS SCO – the Council and the Executive Committee and the legal framework created by them – today ensure the effective conduct of joint organizational, operational-search, preventive and other measures by the competent bodies of the SCO member states. Adopted at the Astana SCO summit in June 2017, the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism aims to consolidate efforts to de-radicalize the population and prevent the spread of the ideology of terrorism. Three-year programs are being developed, permanent groups of experts on legal and technical issues have been established, the exchange of operational information, suppression of the use of the Internet for terrorist, separatist and extremist purposes, border cooperation.

The result of the activities of these groups is the development of joint measures to counter threats posed by the international terrorist organization “Islamic State” (ITO ISIL); the movement of persons to the regions of activity of the ITO; prevention and suppression of the use of computer networks by extremists; the prevention of the use of suicide bombers and the spread of radical religious ideology in the territories of the SCO member states.

All this contributes to strengthening the interaction of the competent bodies of the SCO member states in carrying out counter-terrorism measures. So, in 2016, the FSB of Russia, in cooperation with partners from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, in the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod, suppressed 40 crimes of a terrorist nature. The competent bodies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia suppressed the activities of the ITO ISIL group planning terrorist acts in the SCO countries. Kazakhstani partners transferred 5 wanted members of the ITO, 14 terrorists detained in Kyrgyzstan and Russia. In close cooperation between the special services of China and Kyrgyzstan, a terrorist act was investigated on August 30, 2016 against employees of the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek. Joint efforts of Tajik and Russian special services in Russia revealed, detained and transferred to Tajikistan a number of members of the terrorist cells “Ansarullah”. Competent authorities of Uzbekistan and Russia have identified and suppressed the channels for the recruitment of recruits in the ITO ISIL and the legalization of terrorist fighters in the countries of origin.

200 persons were prevented from leaving to the ITO, accounts of 2,000 individuals, accomplices of terrorist financing were blocked, and access to 100,000 terrorist Internet resources was restricted. The persons suspected of terrorism are being searched for, they are included in the Single Search Register of the RATS SCO. Joint anti-terrorist exercises are held annually. To ensure the safety of major international events, a special coordination mechanism has been established, successfully tested for the first time during the Olympic Games in China. Border cooperation is strengthened, joint border operations are conducted. At the Ufa summit of the heads of the SCO member states, an agreement on cooperation and interaction of the SCO member states on border issues was signed.

The terrorist attacks in the United States and European countries in the last two years clearly demonstrate that the negative consequences of the armed conflict in Syria extend far beyond its limits. How does the development of the situation in the Syria-Iraqi zone affect the security situation in the SCO space?

– Over a long period of time, under the control of the “Islamic State”, “Jabhat al-Nusra” and other international terrorist organizations, there was a significant part of the territory of Syria. As part of their formations, more than 20,000 citizens of the states of Europe, the Middle East, and South-East Asia underwent “break-in” in combat conditions.

Today, amid the defeat in Syria, the ITO ISIL seeks to transfer terrorist activity to other regions, to use for this purpose the potential of local terrorist organizations and single terrorists, including in the territory of the SCO member states.

During the operational search activities conducted by the competent bodies of the SCO member states, dozens of channels for transferring recruits to the zone of the Syrian conflict were identified and suppressed. There are established and maintained operational records of foreign terrorist fighters. An exchange of proactive information on the activities of such terrorist structures as the “Islamic State”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, “Hizb-ut-Tahrir al Islami”, “the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan”, “the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan” and others is being carried out. Joint measures are implemented to neutralize their cells on the SCO member states territory.

The RATS SCO takes into account the emerging new challenges and threats to security and is ready to confront them.

– The Supreme Court of the Republic of Tajikistan had recognized the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which organized a large-scale terrorist attack in the country in September 2015, as a terrorist and extremist organization. Are there any data on the IRPT relations with the ITO ISIL?

– Based on information received from the competent authorities of Tajikistan, the TEO IRPT not only carried out the systematic organization of the terrorist underground and terrorist activities in Tajikistan, but also maintained close ties with the ITO “ISIL”, “the Muslim Brothers-Ikhwan al Muslimin”, “Jamoat Ansarullah”, “Hizb-ut Tahrir”, “Taliban Movement”, “Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan”, etc. Over the period of its activity in Tajikistan, the heads of the TEO IRPT sent more than 500 young people to foreign terror centers in different years. Most of them are active members of terrorist and extremist organizations. The competent authorities of Tajikistan also obtained evidence that “Ansarullah” is the armed wing of the TEO IRPT.

This fact can be confirmed by the fact that out of 1,000 citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan, who are members of the ISIL armed groups, 521 people are members of the TEO IRPT. Law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan suppressed attempts by some members of the IRPT to go with their families to Syria. At the beginning of August 2015, the head of the TEO IRPT cell K. Manonov was detained for propagating the ideology of the “Islamic state” and organizing the posting of the ISIL flag on the territory of Norak.

The neutralization of the extremist-terrorist activities of the IRPT contributed to reducing the recruitment of Tajik citizens to the ranks of the ITO ISIL.

– How is the interaction between the RATS SCO and the profile structures of other international organizations developing?

– Contacts with the UN are successfully developing within the framework of the General Assembly, which in November 2016 held a special event: “The UN and the SCO: Joint Resistance to Challenges and Threats”.

Traditionally, our international partners take part in the RATS annual scientific and practical conference. The Fifth Scientific and Practical Conference of the RATS SCO “Fighting Terrorism – Cooperation without Borders”, which was held on November 1-2, 2017 in Tashkent, was attended by representatives of 8 SCO member states and 4 observer states under the SCO, 7 specialized UN agencies and 6 international organizations.

Currently, the contacts of the RATS SCO with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, Interpol, the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, the CSTO Secretariat, the Anti-terrorist Center of the CIS member states, the Coordinating Service of the Council of Commanders of the Border Forces of the CIS States participants, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking, Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia have been established. It is planned to sign a Protocol on Cooperation with the African Center for the Study and Research of Terrorism.

The SCO RATS is always open for dialogue and cooperation in the interests of consolidating international efforts to combat the common global threat of terrorism.

December 9, 2017 09:48

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