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2017 Muttonen IPACIS OSCEPA conference 280317President Christine Muttonen addresses anti-terrorism conference in St. Petersburg, 28 March 2017. (Photo: Interparliamentary Assembly of CIS Member Nations)ST. PETERSBURG, 28 March 2017 – The Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism, co-organized by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, concluded today in St. Petersburg confirming the prominent role that international parliamentary diplomacy and co-operation can play in the fight against terrorism.

The proceedings of the conference are reflected in a set of conclusions which outline basic principles for responding to the terrorist threat, including establishing efficient interaction between national intelligence agencies, countering conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism such as unresolved conflicts and marginalization of social groups, and strengthening domestic legal frameworks.

“National legislation must criminalize all assistance to terrorists; all activities involving economic relations with terrorist organizations need to be identified and severely prosecuted,” the document states. Preventing radicalization, as well as the supply of finances and materials to terrorist organizations and their access to weapons of mass destruction, are also highlighted as priorities.

In her opening remarks to the conference earlier today, OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) emphasized the need for a proactive response to terrorism that recognizes the various underlying issues fueling radicalization and violent extremism. Muttonen highlighted in particular poverty, political exclusion, human rights violations, discrimination and climate change as contributing factors to an unstable world where terrorism can thrive.

“For an effective counter-terrorism strategy a multifaceted and co-ordinated response is urgently needed. This means combining prevention and detection with proactive steps to mitigate the terrorist threat,” she said. “Good governance and democracy, the rule of law and mutual respect in good faith between cultures, nations and religions, and last but not least political dialogue are essentials for combating terrorism.”

In a meeting today with Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the IPA CIS Council and Speaker of the Russian Federation’s upper house of parliament, President Muttonen welcomed enhanced co-operation between the two assemblies in the fight against terrorism and stressed the important role that women can play in this endeavor.

In her address to the conference today, Matvienko noted that the interaction of CIS countries plays an important role in countering terrorism. “We have managed to establish effective co-operation in this field in recent years. Considerable work is being carried out by the Antiterrorist Center of the CIS Member States,” she said.

Matvienko noted that this demonstrates the possibilities of countries acting coherently in the fight against terrorism.

Also participating in the St. Petersburg conference was the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Anti-Terrorism, Russian State Duma member Nikolay Kovalev, who chaired session two on the humanitarian aspects of counter-terrorism.

Other OSCE PA members addressing the conference included Vice-President Victor Paul Dobre (MP, Romania), Vice-President Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan), human rights committee Vice-Chair Ivana Dobesova (MP, Czech Republic), Pekka Haavisto (MP, Finland), Marie-Francoise Bechtel (MP, France), Gelil Gocer (MP, Turkey), Aase Michaelsen (MP, Norway), and Maximilian Reimann (MP, Switzerland).

The Joint Conclusions of the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Conference on Combating International Terrorism are available in English (here) and Russian (here).

For President Muttonen’s full remarks to the conference, please click here.