Speech

"We all depend on each other to provide a secure aviation environment."

Speech by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the UN Security Council Meeting on Aviation Security

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Thank you, Mr President.

I’m most grateful to Her Excellency Dr Liu for her comprehensive briefing on behalf of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The UK wholeheartedly welcomes the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2309, thanks to the strong and united action of this Council.

This is the first UN Security Council Resolution ever to focus on the threat posed by terrorists to civil aviation, and demonstrates our joint resolve to protect our citizens from an escalating danger.

We have come a long way since the first scheduled commercial flight took off from Florida over 100 years ago.

Today, over 3 billion passengers reach their destinations by air every year. And it is those lives which we are acting today to protect.

We only have to remember some of the recent tragedies to see the urgency of our task. The attacks on airports in Brussels and Istanbul; the destruction of the Russian Metrojet aircraft over Sinai last year; and the explosion on board a Daallo Airways flight from Mogadishu in February.

All of these outrages posed a serious threat to international peace and security. All were stark reminders of how civil aviation faces an evolving danger from terrorists who probe relentlessly for chinks in our collective armour.

And there is one reality that none of us here can escape: we all depend on each other to provide a secure aviation environment. No country alone can safeguard what is, by its very nature, a global activity.

That is why action here in the Security Council - at global level - is so important.

By passing this resolution today, the Security Council has delivered a resounding call to action for the entire international community.

In particular, the resolution seeks to ensure that all states put in place effective security measures to protect civil aviation.

This resolution provides for these arrangements to be consistently applied. It also makes clear that precautions should adapt in response to the changing tactics of terrorists.

The resolution encourages all countries to observe the security standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation – and work collectively to ensure these standards keep pace with the changing threat.

We recognise that if all nations are to meet this challenge, then assistance will often be required. Targeted capacity-development, training and other technical help will all be needed.

I believe this assistance should be provided in the full knowledge that protecting civil aviation amounts to a vital objective for all of us.

In conclusion, Mr President.

Over the last two years, the Security Council has taken a series of steps to counter the terrorist threat. Just as the danger has evolved, so has our response.

We have sought to counter the emergence of Daesh. We have taken steps against the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. We have tried to block or otherwise disrupt the many channels of terrorist financing.

This resolution represents another significant step forwards in this common struggle. It provides a comprehensive approach to safeguarding civil aviation from terrorism. And it shows the determination of the entire international community to keep our citizens safe.

The UK looks forward to the full implementation of this resolution after this Council’s unanimous show of support. That will involve working both nationally and internationally with our partners.

We also welcome this Council’s intention to remain seized of this vital matter. The terrorists will not relent in their efforts to attack civil aviation, so we must never cease to persevere – together - to thwart their evil designs.

Air travel is one of the greatest liberators the human race has ever known, and this resolution will help us to continue to enjoy that freedom in safety.

Published 22 September 2016