Ministerial on Information Sharing to Counter Foreign Terrorist Fighters
- Background: Today (February 18), the Department of State will host – in conjunction with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security – a ministerial-level meeting focused on the evolving foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) threat. Convened on the margins of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), this meeting will explore how we can improve our information sharing and collaboration on FTFs, which is crucial to confronting this global challenge.
- FTF Threat is Serious, Urgent: We believe this meeting is extremely timely and addresses a challenge confronting governments around the world. More than 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries reportedly have traveled to Syria and Iraq. In addition to bolstering ISIL’s ranks, these individuals could pose a significant threat upon their return home.
- FTF Meeting Complements CVE Summit: This meeting is an important complement to the CVE Summit. While the CVE Summit aims to enhance efforts to counter violent extremism broadly and in the long-term, we also must ensure that we are taking measures to address the most urgent manifestations of violent extremism, such as the threat posed by FTFs.
- USG is Fully Committed to Addressing FTF Threat: The United States is pursuing a whole-of-government effort with foreign partners to track and disrupt FTF travel, building on the passage of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2178 last year. The Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security are working closely with foreign counterparts on a range of measures focused on counter-radicalization, border security, aviation security, and information sharing.
- USG is Pushing for UNSCR 2178 Implementation: The ministerial will review the steps that countries have taken to meet the call to action in UNSCR 2178 and the challenges and gaps that still remain. UNSCR 2178 specifically calls for efforts “to intensify and accelerate the exchange of operational information regarding actions or movements of terrorist or terrorist networks, including foreign terrorist fighters.”
- Advocating for Enhanced Traveler Screening Measures: At this Ministerial meeting, DHS will discuss how countries can use Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record sharing to screen travelers. Interpol will explain its efforts to monitor and counter the transit of foreign fighters. The United States continues to urge countries to adopt these measures.
- USG is Supporting Multilateral Efforts: With U.S. support, last year, the Global Counterterrorism Forum launched a new working group and established best practices on addressing foreign fighters. This meeting will discuss the GCTF’s ongoing efforts and other multilateral initiatives to share best practices and strengthen our counterterrorism cooperation. We will also seek to advance the important work of the UN and its counterterrorism bodies working on this issue.
- FTF Meeting Will Create New Momentum: The FTF meeting will give new energy and urgency to regional and global efforts to strengthen information-sharing and overall cooperation to reduce the flow of foreign fighters. Over the next seven months – between now and the September UN General Assembly – the United States is committed to intensifying our efforts and partnerships to address these immediate threats and to counter violent extremism more broadly.
Albania, Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, EU, France, Germany, Indonesia, INTERPOL, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, UN