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Statement by Mr. Martin Arpo, Deputy Director General of the Estonian Internal Security Service on the High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, 28 June 2018


Statement by Mr. Martin Arpo, Deputy Director General

of the Estonian Internal Security Service 

on the High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States under the Theme of “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the evolving threat of terrorism”

28th of June 2018


Secretary General, Undersecretary, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would firstly like to thank the United Nations for hosting this high level conference and for initiating a global dialogue on an important matter. Terrorism undermines not only the stability of individual countries but also the global security architecture. Our meeting is therefore very timely.

Multilateral cooperation has an undeniable role when countering complex threats like global terrorism. Estonia welcomes the adoption of the review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.

As a representative of the national Security Agency, I would like to underline that all cooperation needs to be based on mutual trust. The core and the most challenging part of counterterrorism work is the collection of information, meaning the professional field-work that is based on skills, commitment and trust. Therefore, in order to effectively fight against terrorism we need to first and foremost establish trust between the people and the Security Services and the Security Services and its partners, either national or international. In the European Union the joint efforts of the national Security Services serve as an excellent example – exchange of information and best practices happen now on a daily basis. We have reached an unprecedented level of cooperation in order to rapidly respond to evolving security threats. 

However, we see complications in seeking agreements at the global level on the collection, processing, and sharing of terrorism-related information and evidence. As a counterterrorism practitioner, I have to stress that Security Services are responsible for the personal data of their citizens and other classified information. Therefore, we are conservative about sharing such information with Services from countries that may not always share our fundamental values and understanding of human rights and international law.



Whereas Security Services have established efficient networks in order to counter acts of terrorism, the United Nations has a commendable added value in its ability to tackle the root causes of terrorism, such as violations of international law, by engaging with all different layers of society, including academia, civil society, and the private sector. The global fight against terrorism needs to address fundamental questions, such as the rule of law, the respect for human rights, and the strengthening of civil society.

All in all, terrorism is a complex and evolving challenge that needs to be addressed both on a national and international level to ensure the security of our citizens. We support the United Nation’s efforts in addressing the root causes of terrorism and the promotion of common standards and fundamental values.


Thank you!


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