NEW YORK: Malaysia has co-sponsored a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seeking to establish a better and stronger linkage between the Council’s ongoing counter-terrorism work with International Civil Aviation Organisation norm and standard-setting work.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said by enabling such linkages between ICAO and the Security Council, Malaysia hoped that such cooperation and collaboration would over time result in tangible improvements to global aviation security in all its aspects.

Speaking at the Security Council High-Level Briefing on ‘Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts: Aviation Security’ here Thursday, he said Malaysia shared the view that the global aviation network was an attractive target for international terrorism.

He noted that the cold and calculating logic of terrorists were clearly evident in the attacks against Brussels International Airport and Ataturk International Airport earlier this year.

“With two back-to-back aviation tragedies, Malaysia is acutely aware of the challenges faced in addressing negative public perception and loss of confidence,” the foreign minister said.

Anifah pointed out that when terrorist attacks were successful, the consequences were devastating, both in terms of lives lost and undermined public confidence, and taken together, both could entail broader negative consequences.

“Against such background, my delegation concurs that threats posed to aviation security by terrorism constitute threats against international peace and security.

“Thus, it is right that the Council is seized of this issue. In this connection, I wish to thank the United Kingdom for leading the Council on resolution 2309 just adopted,” he said.

The minister said that the twin tragedies of Malaysia Airlines’ MH370 which has been missing for over two years and the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine – while not ostensibly linked to terrorism – offered some instructive lessons.

Elaborating, he said the first observation concerned the initial instinct or reflex of civil aviation authorities to investigate and determine – in both cases – whether they were caused by terrorism or other factors.

“In this regard, the immediate provision of expertise and assistance from both states and international organisations including ICAO in determining probable causes were, in our view, crucial to dispel the notion that either MH370 or MH17 were brought down by acts of terror. Such quick action helped to maintain public perception and confidence,” he said.

Second, he said, was the need for increased preparedness and prevention capacity, with Malaysia having introduced new security measures including deployment of hi-tech monitoring systems and additional security personnel across all international airports in the country.

“We’ve taken steps to improve information and intelligence sharing through deployment of the Advanced Passenger Information System and the Advance Passenger Screening System to provide early warning and curb possible travel of foreign terrorist fighters,” Anifah said.

He said Malaysia had also strengthened the legal and operational framework by revamping the National Security Council which has, among its core functions, the assessment and monitoring of terrorist threats and activities in the country.

The minister reassured all concerned that Malaysia and its partners remained committed to bringing closure to all outstanding questions on MH370 and MH17.

“We are most grateful for the encouragement and assistance rendered towards this end by all our partners and friends,” he told the session.

The International Aviation Transport Association (IATA) estimates that over 5,000 aircraft fly at any given time, carrying over eight million people, while transporting 140,000 tonnes of cargo daily.

The aviation industry supports over 57 million jobs and generates US$2.2 trillion in economic activity. — Bernama