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Strong Success in Tackling Terrorism Together at Taormina

John Kirton, G7 Research Group
May 27, 2017

Halfway through the 43rd annual G7 summit, held in Taormina, Italy, on May 26-27, 2007, it had proven to be a significant security success. At the end of their first day of meetings, the leaders released the two-and-a-half-page G7 Taormina Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism. Its 1,321 words exceed the 1,297 words in the comparable separate G7 Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism issued at the end at the Ise-Shima Summit on May 27, 2016. The Taormina terrorism statement affirmed the G7's distinctive foundation mission of promoting open democracy and individual liberty three times for each. It contained 38 precise, future-oriented, politically binding commitments, an increase from the 34 in last year's Action Plan. At Taormina leaders made six references to the need for compliance and implementation. They made two references to an institution inside the G7: the meeting of their interior ministers and the G7-created and -centred Financial Action Task Force. They made five specific references to institutions outside the G7, four to the United Nations and one to Interpol. This, however, doubled the one reference to inside institutions made in 2016 but dropped substantially from the 20 to outside ones. At Taormina, the G7 leaders decided to tackle terrorism themselves.

The Taormina terrorism statement showed that the G7 remains a concert of equals, with each leader contributing to the collective result. Combatting terrorism had long been the top priority of U.S. president Donald Trump, who came to the summit straight from initiating, in Saudi Arabia, a summit of many Arab Muslim leaders to fight terrorism in their own countries and the Middle East, and continued the quest at subsequent stops in Israel, Palestine, and the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25. Even more prominent was the influence of British prime minister Theresa May, as the statement opened with and returned to the murderous Manchester terrorist attack on May 22 and highlighted to need to control internet content. And Canada's Justin Trudeau had the G7 leaders again pledge never to pay ransom to terrorists and declare in paragraph 14 "Since the lack of social and economic inclusiveness and opportunities may contribute to the rise of terrorism and violent extremism, we commit to address these issues through a comprehensive approach linking together security, social inclusion, and development. G7 efforts to promote pluralism, tolerance, and gender equality such as cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue will boost the effectiveness of our action against terrorism and violent extremism."

This is good news for the future, as Canada hosts the G7 summit in 2018. Moreover, deadly terrorist attacks in G7 countries on the eve of a G7 summit, as the Manchester murders were, mean G7 leaders are far more likely to comply with the commitments on terrorism they make at their summit.

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