United Nations, New York. A new head of anti-terrorism efforts has been seated in New York and he is a long time Russian diplomat, with a wealth of experience in such matters.
The representative of the Russian Federation to international organizations in Vienna, Vladimir Voronkov, will head the UN Counter-Terrorism Office in the position of Deputy Secretary General. The appointment was made by the head of the international organization, Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday.
“Mr. Voronkov has more than 30 years of experience in the international field, as well as dealing with issues of public diplomacy and social and economic development,” said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
Voronkov, who has a doctorate from Moscow State University, was director of the Department of European Cooperation from 2008 to 2011, during which time he served as the head of the Russian delegation during negotiations with the European Union. He also represented the Kremlin during negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry resulting in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
He also noted that during Voronkov’s time as the Russian Federation’s representative to international organizations in Vienna, “several flagship projects were launched with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and successful cooperation was developed with the counter-terrorism department of the UNODC.”
The appointment of a Russian diplomat to the new counterterrorism office comes as the FBI and congressional committees in Washington are investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections. Several diplomats said the US did not strenuously object to a Russian running the office since the post was created by the General Assembly, not the Security Council, where the US would have veto power over the appointment.
On June 15, the UN General Assembly decided to establish a Counter-Terrorism Offifce. The counterterrorism office and the task force on counterterrorism along with the current staff will be transferred to the new department from the Department of Political Affairs. The head of the new department will have the title of Deputy Secretary General.
Earlier, the UN General Assembly Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs approved the allocation of budget funds to the Office of Counter-Terror. According to the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly (dealing with administrative issues and budget issues), the creation of the new department will require an additional $390,600 for 2016-2017. The amount will be covered under the approved program budget for 2016-2017.
According to a report from the UN Secretary General, the operational budget for 2017 is more than $15 million. Maintaining personnel for the entire organization in 2017 will require more than $6.1 million. The salary of the head of an office at the deputy level is $393,000 a year.
Voronkov will coordinate counterterrorism activities across the UN chair of the current Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and serve as executive director of the counterterror center, and lead the Preventing Violent Extremism agenda.