Sponsored by Saudi Arabia, UN Launches Project to Combat Illicit Weaponry Trade

The United Nations launched last night a joint project, funded by Saudi Arabia and Russia, aimed at tackling terrorism, organized crime and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the Central Asian region.

The project seeks to strengthen criminal justice responses to prevent and combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and to disrupt the illicit supply of these weapons to terrorist groups.

In his opening remarks, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov, stated that small and light weapons have become an increasingly preferred weapon of many terrorist groups worldwide for their cheapness, accessibility, transfer, concealment and use.

He emphasized that the relationship between terrorism and organized crime, including the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security and represents an obstacle to sustainable development and a threat to the rule of law.

For his part, the permanent member of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the United Nations, Counselor Abdul Majeed Al-Babtain, affirmed in the Kingdom’s speech on this occasion that the problem of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and transferring them into terrorist groups is a global concern. He pointed out that the complexity in dealing with the relationship between weapons, organized crime and terrorism is reflected in the multidimensional nature of this threat, pointing out that the Kingdom calls for taking many measures in order to establish preventive mechanisms and a successful response.

The project, funded by Russia and Saudi Arabia, supports the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Security Council Resolution 2370 (2017), the Madrid Guidelines and the Firearms Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crime, among other international legal instruments. The project will be implemented in 2020-2021 by the United Nations Center for Counter-Terrorism and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, through the Global Firearms Program, in a close cooperation with the Executive Directorate of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTED) and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).