Saudi Arabia gives $100 million to U.N. Counterterrorism Center

Saudi Arabia donated $100 million Wednesday to a U.N. body established to coordinate and assist international counter­terrorism efforts and called on other nations to match its support.

“The goal is to help provide the tools, technologies and methods to confront and eliminate the threat of terrorism,” Adel al-
Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, said in presenting a check to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Saudi King Abdullah provided seed money to establish the U.N. Counter­terrorism Center in 2011. Since then, the center has held conferences and issued papers but has had little direct impact on the ground.

Money would go, for example, to countries with nascent terrorist activity that can’t afford counter­terrorism technology or have not set it as a priority, Jubeir said in a separate interview. The center’s board could decide there is a “need for equipment for security at airports in the following countries. Who’s going to pay for it?”

The center, Jubeir said, could work in collaboration with donor countries such as the United States that are willing to help with bilateral or regional assistance. President Obama has set assistance through regional partnerships as a primary U.S. counter­terrorism strategy.

“The thinking would be to look at different parts of the world and say, ‘This region needs more capacity in these areas — more equipment, more training,’ ” he said. “It all costs money. . . . In some cases, the center can go alone; in others, it can provide incentive for matching funds.”

While counter­terrorism efforts are national priorities in countries such as Lebanon and Yemen, Jubeir said, others may have a “false sense of security.”

“What we’re saying is that if terrorism grows in one part of the world, it’s only a matter of time before it gets to you. . . . Countries that have not experienced terrorism don’t recognize the importance of dealing with it.”

Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post.
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