Presided by Lithuania, the United Nations (UN) Security Council on Friday urged member-states to be more active in their efforts against foreign fighters joining extremist organizations in Syria and Iraq.
Linas Linkevičius at UN Security Council

At the meeting in New York, Lithuania announced a presidential statement, calling upon countries to criminalize joining of extremist groups, ensure better protection of state borders and exchange information about travelers.

The Security Council also called for more attention to education and social media campaigns against recruitment of extremists.

"No country can consider itself immune to the threat of foreign terrorist fighters. Waiting until it happens would be the worst possible choice," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said after chairing the meeting.

The Security Council debates were attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, a few interior ministers and Interpol chief Jurgen Stock.

The event ended a month-long Lithuanian presidency of the UN Security Council.

The UN Security Council held its last meeting on measures of curbing foreign fighters last September, it was then headed by US President Barack Obama.

Diplomats say more than 25,000 fighters from over 100 countries have already joined groups related to Al Qaeda.

Many fighters join forces in Syria, Iraq and lately Libya from Tunisia, Morocco, France and Russia.

Lithuania has been elected as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2014 and 2015. The institution includes 15 countries, including five – the US, China, Russia, Great Britain and France – enjoying a veto right. The Security Council is the only body that can sanction force by international law.

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