European Interest

UN inaugurates new counter-terrorism office in Spain

José Manuel Albares @jmalbares

The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Mr. José Manuel Albares, and the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, inaugurated the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) Office in Madrid today.

After the opening ceremony, Mr. Albares, Mr. Grande-Marlaska and Mr. Voronkov walked through the premises of the new UNOCT Office in Madrid. The Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that it “represents an important milestone after several years of working closely with the United Nations to reinforce the fight against terrorism through multilateralism”.

The Minister of the Interior reiterated the support of the Spanish Government for the activities of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and underlined “Spain’s firm and unquestionable commitment to the fight against terrorism and the protection and care of its victims,” he said.

Mr. Voronkov thanked Spain for its support to UNOCT and stressed “the need to strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation, an objective to which the UNOCT Madrid Office will actively contribute”.

The new UNOCT Programme Office focuses on providing technical assistance and capacity-building projects to countries from around the world. It will focus particularly in the areas of protection of vulnerable targets—including critical infrastructure and public places—, preventing violent extremism —including through sports and youth engagement—, and promoting and protecting human rights and supporting victims of terrorism.

The Office also focuses on facilitating bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism. In this regard, it will also be able to leverage Spain’s counter-terrorism experience and good practices to help implement these programmes in beneficiary countries.

The UNOCT and the Government of Spain signed the Host Country Agreement and the Premises Agreement for the establishment of this UNOCT Programme Office in Madrid in June and September 2022, respectively.

Within the framework of his visit and the opening of the new Office, Mr. Voronkov held meetings with the heads of the National Intelligence Center of Spain (CNI), Ms. Esperanza Casteleiro; from the Department of National Security of the Presidency of Government, General Miguel Ángel Ballesteros; and the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime of the Ministry of Interior of Spain (CITCO), General Manuel Navarrete.

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