Dear GCTF members,
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I would like to welcome you in Cairo and express my outmost pleasure for receiving you in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend this very important meeting; a meeting that - we all hope - will usher a new era in the international efforts to curb the threat to terrorism.
In fact, terrorism is currently one of the most serious threats to international peace and security; something that was evidently proved over the past decade since the tragic attacks of 9/11 which clearly showed the world how destructive a terrorist attack can be.
And since then there was a huge surge in the international efforts to curb the threat of terrorism and eliminate it once and for all. These efforts took various forms that ranged from unilateral actions, regional actions and concentrated international effort. We must admit that this mixed international response to the threat of terrorism had a mixed record that included some successes and some failures.
This mixed record of successes and failures and the tenth anniversary of the most tragic and destructive attacks in the history of mankind, provides the international community with a unique milestone to review and reassess our efforts (as an international community) in the field of counter terrorism.
In this respect, the work of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum gains outmost importance. The Global Counter Terrorism Forum is a mechanism – in the making – that could be effectively and rationally used to better coordinate the collective efforts of the international in the field of counter terrorism and address any gaps in them; having said that, Egypt strongly believes that the Global Counter Terrorism Forum and all other international mechanisms to counter terrorism should work in line with the United Nations' Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and in full coordination with relevant United Nations bodies.
In this regard, Egypt strongly believes that the Global Counter Terrorism Forum could develop – with the efforts of its members – into a highly efficient international mechanism; not only to conduct capacity building programs, but also developing new international strategies to address the root causes of terrorism and reform the international efforts in this field.
In fact, a quick review of the international efforts in the counter terrorism field over the past decade will reveal that the international community focused, to a great extent, on the security aspect of countering terrorism. It is no doubt that focusing on the security aspect of countering terrorism is important in its own right. Yet, it is by no means enough, as the counter terrorism efforts should be comprehensive and include dealing with the root causes of terrorism.
These root causes are, without a doubt, the real reason for the spread of extremist ideologies, as they create a suitable breading ground for them. As such, highly coordinated international effort should be directed towards addressing occupation and injustice in international relations. In addition, major effort should be directed towards uprooting and delegitimizing the extremist ideologies.
And in this regard, its worth noting the peaceful Arab revaluations in Egypt and Tunisia present a new counter factual line of thinking that refutes the ideologies of extremist groups (such as Al-Qaida) which advocate violence as the sole means of change.
In fact, Egypt not only presents this counter factual approach with its peaceful revolution but also via the highly successful Azhar-Cambridge program which helped training British and Afghan Imams on how to refute the extremist ideology from theological perceptive. This highly successful program, which build on Egypt's successful experience in countering extremist ideologies and the history and credibility of the famed Azhar University, is conducted with the University of Cambridge and serves as a good example of how programs for countering extremism should be conducted.
Finally, I would like to seize this opportunity to stress on Egypt's sincere commitment to all the international efforts to counter terrorism and Egypt's strict adherence to all its international obligations in that field.
In fact, Egypt's sincere commitment in that matter is coupled to Egypt's keenness on developing its own capabilities in field of law enforcement and counter terrorism to be in line with latest development in these fields and, in parallel, ensure the respect of human rights.
We believe that developing law enforcement and counter terrorism agencies - that are professional and have an inherent respect for human rights, deeply embraced by their doctrines - is one of important prerequisites for developing a new democratic Egypt.
A new democratic Egypt that embrace the concept of a civil government, cherish and respect human rights, and able to strike the delicate balance between the prerequisites of democratic society and the needs of national security.
Finally, I would like to welcome you again in Cairo and wish you a pleasant stay and successful meeting.