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G7 Objectives Met on Terrorism at Taormina

Hélène Emorine, G7 Research Group
May 27, 2017

On the first day of the G7 Taormina Summit, the leaders of the seven most powerful democracies in the world stood united against terrorism and violent extremism. Spurred into action by the horrific terrorist attacks in Manchester on May 22, 2017, the G7 firmly and decisively met the world's expectations in its just released Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism. Here the G7 underlined its shared system of values and norms as the "beacon for our common action and the first and best defense against this common threat." The G7 identified the importance of responding to terrorism through a comprehensive approach linking together security, social inclusion and development.

On May 26, 2017, at a G7 press briefing, UK prime minister Theresa May warned that the threat of terrorism is evolving rather than disappearing. She gave a stark warning: "make no mistake, the fight against terrorism is moving from the battlefield to the Internet." The G7's Statement highlighted the misuse of the Internet as a priority in countering terrorism. It called on leaders and technological companies to do more to prevent and address the presence of terrorist propaganda on its websites. As such, it is leading the creation of an industry-led forum for combatting online extremism to share information and best practices among countries, communication services providers and social media companies.

The G7 also designated the risk posed by foreign fighters returning to their home countries as a priority. The G7 emphasized the need to work together in order to manage the travel and return of foreign fighters and the prosecution of the foreign fighters while complying with international human rights standards. By strengthening cooperation with its partners, the G7 also pledged to intensify its efforts with border agencies around the world to screen travelers and stem the flow of foreign fighters

In addition, the G7 addressed the financing that provides terrorists with the ability to perpetrate attacks, sustain their networks and spread their propaganda. It reiterated its support for the Financial Action Task Force and recognized the importance of information sharing between G7 members, other competent authorities and the private sector. Through its enhanced cooperation with relevant authorities, the G7 committed to employ targeted financial sanctions to disrupt terrorist organizations.

In responding to terrorism, the G7 effectively identified culture as an instrument to fight terrorism. It committed to cultivate culture, tolerance and diversity to foster pluralism and interfaith dialogue. Through its planned efforts to address the lack of social and economic inclusiveness that contributes to the rise of terrorism, the G7 demonstrated that its efforts to eradicate terrorism must go hand-in-hand with economic and social inclusion.

In sum, throughout its Statement the G7 resolutely met its objectives. It addressed the misuse of the Internet, the need to partner with civil society, private companies and relevant intelligence units such as Interpol in dealing with the terrorist threat, the return of foreign fighters to their home country, terrorist financing, radicalization and the enhancement of border security.

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