David Cameron told a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council tonight that the British people had been “sickened” by the discovery that an apparently British man has been responsible for the beheadings of hostages held by Islamic State (Isis) and urged action to prevent the posting of videos showing such executions.
In an unusual unanimous vote, the Security Council, chaired by President Barack Obama, adopted a resolution to compel all members of the UN to draft new laws and restrictions to “prevent and suppress” the recruitment and travel of people from those nations to the areas controlled by Isis, to fight alongside it. It was only the sixth time the Council had met at the level of heads of government since the founding of the UN.
“One of the most disturbing aspects is how this conflict is sucking in our own young people, from modern, prosperous societies,” Mr Cameron said. “The threat to our security from foreign fighters is far greater today that it has ever been in previous conflicts.” He noted that as many as 12,000 foreign fighters had already left their homes and gone to Syria to join the Isis cause, including 500 from the United Kingdom. The US had put the total number of recruits worldwide at 15,000.
Video: Cameron addresses the UN
Turning to the appearance of the masked man some have called ‘Jihadi John’ in the execution videos, the Prime Minister said: “British people are sickened that a British citizen, a British citizen, could be involved in murdering people – including a fellow British citizen who had gone to Syria to help people – in this way.” He went on: “It is the very opposite of what our peaceful, tolerant country stands for.”
All nations, the Prime Minister said, needed to join in a new partnership to confront Isis. Britain, he noted, had passed new powers enabling it to seize the passports of those seeking to join the extremists and to prevent those who have gone from returning to Britain. He also urged joint action on the videos. “We need a new international partnership across countries and industry to take down the evil online murder videos we have seen,” he said.
Three such videos have so far been seen showing the successive executions of American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff and the British aid worker David Haines. “The cruelty being meted out – beheadings, eyes being gouged out, rape – is horrific,” Mr Cameron offered. “It is literally mediaeval in character.”
Opening the meeting, Mr Obama said the resolution “recognised there is no military solution to the problem of misguided individuals seeking to join terrorist organisations, and it, therefore, calls on nations to work together to counter the violent extremism that can radicalize, recruit, and mobilize individuals to engage in terrorism.”
“The words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action, into deeds — concrete action, within nations and between them, not just in the days ahead, but for years to come. For if there was ever a challenge in our interconnected world that cannot be met by any one nation alone, it is this: terrorists crossing borders and threatening to unleash unspeakable violence.Reuse content