ADDRESSING SECURITY COUNCIL, SECRETARY-GENERAL
NEW YORK, 18 January (UN Headquarters) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning called on the Security Council Counter-terrorism Committee to develop a long-term strategy that would enable all States to undertake the hard steps needed to defeat terrorism. Mr. Annan was making the first address in a public Council meeting held today that heard over 40 interventions, including a briefing by the Chairman of the Committee, Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom).
The Secretary-General said he believed that States would only achieve success in counter-terrorism efforts when the global struggle against terrorism was seen as necessary and legitimate by their peoples. Such universal legitimacy was something the United Nations could do much to confer, he stressed. Through the Committee’s work, Member States were using the Organization as an instrument to forge a global defence against a global threat, he added.
Briefing the Council on the Committee, Mr. Greenstock said the Council’s aim was to raise the average level of government performance against terrorism across the globe. That had meant upgrading the capacity of each nation’s legislation and executive machinery to fight terrorism. Every government, therefore, was responsible for ensuring that there was no weak part of the chain.
[Resolution 1373 (2001) is a wide-ranging and comprehensive resolution to combat international terrorism, which was unanimously adopted on 28 September in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States. A Council Committee was also established to monitor the resolution's implementation, and all States were called on to report on actions they had taken to that end no later than 90 days from the resolution's adoption date.]
The Chairman said a critical part of the counter-terrorism effort would be building cooperation, at the international and regional levels, exchanging information about terrorism, and sharing expertise and assistance. In the first 90-day period, the Committee had issued guidance to States on the submission of reports and had published a directory of contact points to promote global cooperation. To date, 122 States had submitted reports to the Committee, in a demonstration of excellent cooperation. Others should be encouraged to do so. He also suggested that a trust fund be established to finance the Committee’s work.
As it entered its second period, Mr. Greenstock said the Committee’s focus was on processing the first set of reports. In response to each report, the Committee would write, in confidence, to the government concerned offering its comments. That might be a request for more information or for clarification. It might also outline areas in which the Committee believed that legislation or further executive measures were needed to upgrade the State’s capacity against terrorism. It would also, if appropriate, identify possible sources of expertise or assistance programmes of relevance.
Speakers also called for more attention to be given to issues that fuelled terrorism: poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts, denial of human rights, environmental degradation, lack of access to justice and equal protection under the law, as well the lack of sustainable development. A number of speakers also called on the Committee to assist Member States in dealing with problems arising from the links between terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and trafficking in illegal arms.
The Secretary-General also said it should be clear that there was no trade-off between effective action against terrorism and the protection of human rights. In the long term, human rights, along with democracy and social justice, were the best prophylactics against terrorism.
The representative of the United States said the Counter-terrorism Committee had been innovative in keeping touch with the United Nations as a whole. The goal of the fight against terrorism should be to build and maintain the strongest consensus possible. The international community should complete the United Nations convention against terrorism at once. His country was gratified by the "roll up your sleeves" approach of the Counter-terrorism Committee. The task the Committee had undertaken was best done collectively, and it was being done that way. Some countries would need assistance, and the United States offered a broad range, in such areas as customs, extradition, police science and law enforcement.
India’s representative urged the Council and the Committee to not accept any putative justification or excuse for terrorism. By holding people accountable and making examples of them, the Council would demonstrate that it meant business. Support for terrorism in any form clearly contravened resolution 1373. Left unchallenged, statements of such support and other "pseudo-justifications" would leave the text open to mischievous and self-serving misrepresentations and misinterpretations, thereby undermining its intent. Terrorists and their sponsors had become used to empty gestures and rhetoric from the international community for many years. They would now be testing its resolve to fully and faithfully implement the counter-terrorism resolution.
Pakistan’s representative said the Council must rise above power polities and political expediency and respond to crises and conflicts in an objective manner. It was time for courageous decisions, for correcting historical wrongs and redressing endemic injustices.
Syria’s representative said Israel’s attempt to link its assassinations and oppressions of the Palestinian people with the events of 11 September had been a flagrant attempt to "hoodwink" international opinion and cover Israeli attacks, thereby undermining the peace process. The daily commissions of violence by Israelis against Palestinians were war crimes. If those crimes were not terrorism, what were they? What kind of self-defence allowed occupation and settlement, and killing and destruction? Regrettably, however, the Council had not denounced Israeli terrorism and its repeated violations of international humanitarian law.
Israel’s representative said Syria’s statement to the Council today was a transparent attempt to divert attention from its own record as a country that supported, encouraged, financed and harboured a "vast gamut" of terrorist organizations. When Syria was elected to the Council, the international community had hoped that it would become a more responsible member of the family of nations. After listening to the Syrian statement, he had to conclude that, unfortunately, Syria had so far failed to rise to that challenge.
Iran’s representative said that, in the fight against terrorism, it was important to articulate objective criteria that would enable the international community to identify and combat terrorism regardless of its victims or culprits. It was not acceptable that patterns of alliance rather than actual engagement in terrorist activities became the determining factor. The credibility of the campaign against terrorism was seriously undermined when policies and practices designed to instil terror among the entire Palestinian people received acquiescing silence, while resistance to foreign occupation and State terrorism was conveniently demonized. Those who fought against foreign occupation in the exercise of their legitimate rights should be distinguished from terrorists.
Statements were also made by the representatives of France, Costa Rica (on behalf of the Rio Group) Spain (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Canada (on behalf of the Group of Eight industrialized countries), Ireland, Bulgaria, China, Peru, Morocco (on behalf of the Arab Group), Singapore, Norway, Colombia, Japan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Guinea, Russian Federation, Poland, Mongolia, Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Brunei Darussalam (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Portugal (on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)), Uzbekistan, Nauru (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Nepal, Qatar (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Tajikistan, Cameroon, Mexico, and Mauritius. The Observer for Palestine also spoke.
The Chairman of the Committee also responded twice to remarks and questions from the floor.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m., was suspended at 1:32 p.m., resumed at 3:23 p.m. and was adjourned at 6:33 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider threats to international peace and security. It is expected to review implementation of its resolution 1373 (2001), a wide-ranging and comprehensive resolution with steps and strategies to combat international terrorism, unanimously adopted on 28 September in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
By the terms of that resolution, the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, decided, among other things, that States should prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts.
The Council also established a Council committee to monitor the resolution's implementation and called on all States to report on actions they had taken to that end no later than 90 days from the resolution's adoption date.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said this meeting was an opportunity to discuss the work of the Committee established by resolution 1373 (2001). He welcomed the energy and spirit of cooperation with which Member States had reacted to terrorist attacks. The Committee’s work and the cooperation received had been unprecedented.
The Secretariat had already briefed the Committee on its work, he said. Currently, more than 25 per cent of resources allocated to documentation were used for processing national reports submitted by Member States. It was an unprecedented effort that could not be sustained very long. Through the Committee’s work, Member States were using the Organization as an instrument to forge a global defence against a global threat. He hoped the same spirit of unity and resolve would be manifested in tackling other global threats, such as weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS and climate change.
The Committee’s work had already highlighted the close connections between terrorism and various other activities, such as organized crime and the illicit traffic in weapons, drugs, and other commodities such as diamonds. To deal with those things more coherently, closer coordination was necessary between different United Nations bodies.
It should be clear that there was no trade-off between effective action against terrorism and the protection of human rights. In the long term, human rights, along with democracy and social justice, were one of the best prophylactics against terrorism. Terrorism was a weapon for alienated, desperate people, and often a product of despair. If human beings everywhere were given real hope of achieving self-respect and a decent life by peaceful methods, terrorists would become much harder to recruit. "While we certainly need vigilance to prevent acts of terrorism, and firmness in condemning and punishing them, it would be self-defeating if we sacrifice other key priorities -– such as human rights –- in the process", he said.
The protection of human rights was not primarily the responsibility of the Security Council, but there was a need to take into account the expertise of other United Nations bodies, and to make sure that the measures adopted did not unduly curtail human rights. Many States lacked the capacity to adopt effective counter-terrorist measures. They were in genuine need of technical and financial assistance if they were to fulfil their obligations. He hoped the Committee would produce a precise inventory of needs in that area, on the basis of which the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions could design specific projects.
He said the United Nations stood foursquare against terrorism, no matter what end it purported to serve. The Committee must develop a long-term strategy to enable all States to undertake the hard steps needed to defeat terrorism. "I believe they can only do so when the global struggle against terrorism is seen as necessary and legitimate by their peoples -— and that such universal legitimacy is something the United Nations can do much to confer", he concluded.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), said the Council had reacted strongly and quickly to the threat that international terrorism, in its latest form, posed to international peace and security. It recognized that global action was needed to prevent the spread of terrorist networks and cut off all support for them. Its response was ambitious, but right. Governments were already familiar with what needed to be done but few had done it.
He said that resolution 1373 (2001) had drawn on the language negotiated by all United Nations Members in the 12 Conventions against terrorism, but also delivered a strong operational message: get going on effective measures now. The General Assembly had continued throughout the autumn to negotiate an overarching Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism and a Convention on Nuclear Terrorism. Those efforts must be brought to completion. The Council’s aim in resolution 1373 was to raise the average level of government performance against terrorism across the globe.
That had meant upgrading the capacity of each nation’s legislation and executive machinery to fight terrorism, he went on. Every government held a responsibility for ensuring that there was no weak part of the chain. A critical part of that effort would be building cooperation, internationally and at the regional level, exchanging information about terrorism, and sharing as widely as possible expertise and assistance on counter-terrorism. In the first 90-day period, the Committee had issued guidance to States on the submission of reports and had published a directory of contact points to promote global cooperation.
A pool of independent experts had been selected to advise the Committee, which was acting with maximum transparency, he continued. As far as possible, given the sensitive nature of counter-terrorism work, it had made its documents publicly available and maintained an up-to-date comprehensive Web site. To date, 122 States had submitted reports to the Committee, in a demonstration of excellent cooperation. Others should be encouraged to do so. Perhaps a trust fund should be established to finance the Committee’s work.
As it entered its second period, the Committee’s focus was turning to processing the first set of reports. In response to each report, the Committee would write, in confidence, to the government concerned offering its comments. That might be a request for more information or for clarification. It might outline areas in which the Committee believed that legislation or further executive measures were needed to upgrade the State’s capacity against terrorism. It would also, if appropriate, identify possible sources of expertise or assistance programmes of relevance.
He said he had explained the purpose of the Committee, as well as its aims for the next period. He also wished to set out what the Committee was not. It was not a tribunal for judging States. It would not trespass onto areas of competence of other parts of the United Nations system. It was not going to define terrorism in a legal sense, although its members had a fair idea of what was blatant terrorism. It had no plans to issue lists of terrorist organizations. If it could not settle issues of political controversy, it would submit those back to the Council.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said that, in taking a consensual approach, the Committee was not "ducking" its responsibilities. Its job was to work with Member States to clarify how best they could meet their obligations. The Committee’s processes, however, would put press on governments to ensure that, in the political and administrative decisions they took, they did not condone acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians in any political context. An international collective conscience should be developed in that respect in which every government, without exception, was a participant.
JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) said the Counter-terrorism Committee had been innovative in keeping touch with the United Nations as a whole. The goal of the fight against terrorism should be to build and maintain the strongest consensus possible. The need to address terrorism was operational now, and the United States was working hard to see that it was met.
He noted the global social, political and economic impact of 9/11 and that the world would be living with that for some time. To achieve a victory against terrorism would take time, and the international community must be clear about the response and the threat. The Secretary-General had helped define the issues. He said there was a need for moral clarity, that no one could justify the taking of innocent civilian lives, regardless of the cause or grievance.
The international community should complete the United Nations Convention against Terrorism at once, he continued. The United States was gratified by the "roll up your sleeves" approach of the Counter-terrorism Committee. The task the Committee had undertaken was best done collectively, and it was being done that way. Some countries would need assistance, and the United States offered a broad range in such areas as customs, extradition, police science and law enforcement. He hoped other governments would report soon on assistance they were able to provide, since many States needed help in implementing resolution 1373.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), associating himself with the statement of the representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union, said the horror and scope of the 11 September attacks had profoundly marked the life and action of the international community. The Organization had emerged from this as a stronger and more focused institution. From the outset, the United Nations had responded by taking into account the global impact of the scourge.
The Council, by adopting resolution 1373 (2001), one of the most important in its history, had committed itself to combat action that constituted a threat to international peace and security. It had not hesitated to put a new and ambitious focus on its actions, engaging every Member State. The Committee’s role was fundamental, as it highlighted the Council’ will to situate its action in a long-term context. It had not been created to punish States, but to cooperate with them and assist them to better combat terrorism. Its work was characterized by complete transparency, he said.
Over 120 States had sent the Committee a national report on implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), a remarkable success. He urged States that had not done so to send in their reports as soon as possible. The consideration of the reports would enable the Council to take stock of national means available, and to identify needs for assistance for States not having the capacity to combat terrorism. France was determined to contribute every assistance possible to States that needed it.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) added his voice to the statement to be made later in the meeting on behalf of the Arab League. Once again, he strongly condemned the brutal crime of 11 September. Seriously combating terrorism had not started with those events. His country submitted specific proposals to the General Assembly through the ad hoc committee on terrorism. In 1986, Syria’s President had called for the convening of a global conference to discuss terrorism and define and distinguish it from the just struggle of people to rid themselves of foreign occupation.
He said that all States must strive to understand the current reality and synchronize the criteria to deal with it. It was also necessary to analyse the causes of terrorism and not only deal with its results. Syria had signed agreements with many States to combat transnational crime, in order to coordinate joint action to combat terrorism, the illicit drug trade and money laundering. It was now reviewing legal channels for signing the remaining United Nations Conventions in that area. Unfortunately, the Organization’s record with respect to ending colonization was incomplete.
Some had deliberately disregarded the United Nations Charter and the Organization’s resolutions, he went on. Indeed, foreign occupation was the "most brutal form" of terrorism. That had included the Israeli occupation of the occupied territories in Palestine, Syrian/Golan, and Lebanon, which had resulted in a legitimate struggle. The Israeli attempt to link its assassinations and oppressions of the Palestinian people with the events of 11 September had been a flagrant attempt to "hoodwink" international opinion and cover Israeli attacks, thereby undermining the peace process.
He said the daily commissions of Israeli violence against Palestinians were war crimes, whose perpetrators must be brought to justice. If those crimes by Israelis were not terrorism, what were they? What kind of self-defence allowed occupation and settlement, and killing and destruction? Regrettably, the Security Council, which was entrusted with maintaining international peace and security, had not denounced Israeli terrorism and its repeated violations of international humanitarian law.
The reason for the events in the Middle East was the continued occupation of Arab territories and the denial of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Bringing about a just and comprehensive peace in the region should be based on resolutions 242 and 348, on the principle of land for peace. The use of threats of force against any Arab or Islamic country did not serve the goal of combating terrorism.
BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, categorically condemned terrorism in all its forms, saying there was no political, philosophical, racial, ethnic or religious justification for such crimes. The Rio Group endorsed the Council's resolution 1373 (2001) as a sound, necessary and innovative response to the tragic events of 11 September. Still, efforts to eradicate terrorism required an authentic expression of universal cooperation to ensure that the basic principles of peace, security and sustainable development for all mankind.
At a legal experts' meeting last November in Santiago, Chile, to discuss the prevention of terrorism and the implementation of the Council's strategy, the Rio Group member countries stressed the need for strengthening judicial cooperation and the critical importance of elaborating a legal definition of terrorism. It was also important for the international community to address ways to tackle terrorist financing, he said. The experts decided to expedite work on the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, as well as to create an information database that would compile relevant laws and administrative regulations.
Only multilateral action could combat the transnational nature of terrorism, he continued. Though broad action and cooperation were necessary, the struggle against the scourge should not be an excuse to disregard fundamental rights. Rather, terrorism, more than any other crimes, represented the best reason to reaffirm those rights. True and sustainable peace arose from mutual respect, dialogue and rejection of violence.
The Group was well aware that political repression, extreme poverty and violations of human rights fed the extremist feelings that led to terrorist acts, he said. The multilateral strategy against terrorism must tackle those challenges, as well as other lingering development issues such as hunger, illness and the lack of adequate housing to ensure respect for human dignity in conformity with the commitments prescribed by world leaders in the Millennium Declaration. The fight against terrorism should not be used to fuel ethnic hatred or promote religious discord.
The Rio Group was confident that the current international attention focused on the fight against terrorism would not hamper programmes aimed at eradicating poverty or consume the meagre resources devoted to the protection of human rights and social and economic development. At the same time, in order to prevent terrorism it would be necessary to create institutional and police procedures that would effectively protect all people and ensure full respect for international human rights norms, he said. Special attention should be given to the linkages between terrorist networks, drug trafficking networks and the illicit trade in small arms.
INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain), on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the attack against the United States on 11 September and the events of the past few months had demonstrated that the capacity of terrorists to act on the international scene was growing. However, the international community had acted quickly and effectively against it. Terrorism respected no borders, and States could not react in an isolated manner against that phenomenon, which was one of the biggest threats to peace in the twentieth century. n
The Counter-terrorism Committee provided the Security Council with a follow-up mechanism to resolution 1373, thus providing continuity for international action, he said. He stressed that all States must unreservedly support the Committee. States that had not yet sent in their reports on implementing the resolution should do so immediately.
Some States might need assistance in fulfilling their obligations under the resolution, he said. The European Union was already providing assistance in such areas as capacity building, border management and combating economic crimes and money laundering. The Union was committed to making the struggle against terrorism a key feature of its external relations.
The adoption of resolution 1373 had been possible thanks to a strong spirit of consensus, he continued. Relevant international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, should also be involved. He noted that each country should make an effort to fight terrorism, but regional cooperation was also vital.
The European Union had taken specific measures to combat the terrorist threat, he said. One of those was the European arrest warrant, which would ensure that warrants linked to terrorist acts were valid in the entire Union. Another was the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, which defined several types of terrorist acts and imposed severe criminal punishments for the perpetrators. The Union had also adopted a regulatory framework that, for the first time, provided the legal basis for a European Union-wide sanction system to freeze terrorist assets. Concerning the 12 United Nations anti-terrorist Conventions, the Union had requested the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention to develop a project on how it could assist United Nations Member States with implementing those instruments.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada), speaking as Chairman of the G-8, as well as in his national capacity, said combating terrorism required a 100 per cent commitment from everybody. Canada had strengthened its legislation against terrorism. In the near future it would ratify several international conventions against terrorism, thereby completing ratification of all 12 Conventions.
He said the priorities of the G-8 would be strengthening global economic growth, strengthening support of Africa and fighting terrorism. Cooperation within the G-8 had been instrumental in issues such as transportation security and exchange of information. The G-8 worked on a broader scene, cooperation with international and regional organizations. Since its Hallifax Summit in 1995, the G-8 had taken numerous and specific counter-terrorist measures. As chair of the G-8, he would meet periodically with the Committee.
Resolution 1373 (2001) provided a sound framework for national, regional and international action. The root cause of terrorism was terrorists. Under no circumstance was terrorism justified. He said his country believed that international cooperation was the key to implement the resolution. It recognized that some States did not have the capacity to implement the resolution. Capacity-building assistance was directly related to security for everybody. Canada would do its part in that regard.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said he associated himself fully with the statement to be made later in the debate on behalf of the European Union. The United Nations, as the supreme symbol of international cooperation and the embodiment of international law, had responded decisively and with strong determination to the attacks of 11 September. Resolution 1373 (2001) had placed the United Nations where it belonged -- at the centre of the international struggle to combat terrorism. The text was an agenda for action that imposed clear and explicit obligations on all States to combat and suppress international terrorism and prevent its operation.
He said that the replies received by States on implementing the resolution showed that the international community was setting a firm pace in addressing its binding requirements. He agreed fully that the replies of the Committee on national reports should be confidential, and he welcomed the Committee’s openness in its procedures. At the same time, he attached particular importance to strong regional cooperation in the struggle against terrorism and was interested in Ambassador Greenstock’s assessment of that dimension in the context of his work.
Resolution 1373 required many States to put in place complex legislation and administrative frameworks, he noted. For some, that might require substantial technical support and assistance. He, therefore, strongly shared the view that the Committee adopt a pragmatic, reasonable and open approach to the efforts of States in those areas. Towards helping States meet their obligation, he welcomed the proposed directory of assistance outlined by Ambassador Greenstock, as well as the idea of a United Nations Trust Fund. Support for the least developed countries in building the necessary administrative structures must be provided.
He agreed that the resolution was an agenda for action, but that must not ever be at the price of any State violating the human rights of its citizens or of any human being. Implementation of the resolution must respect the wider human rights requirements whose elaboration were a signal achievement of the United Nations over many years. Hopefully, agreement could be reached soon to convene a comprehensive convention against terrorism, and he would work actively towards that goal.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) associated himself fully with the statement just made on behalf of the European Union. He said the time had been used well to implement resolution 1373 (2001) and welcomed the serious atmosphere prevailing in the Committee, as well as its transparency. He also greatly admired Sir Jeremy Greenstock for his work. Clearly, the Committee’s task was to inform, coordinate, and, where necessary, help. Its function was not to punish. On 24 December, Bulgaria submitted its national report on implementation, which had faithfully reflected the coordinated efforts being made to combat terrorism.
He wished to stress the lesson learned during his country’s own struggle against terrorism, namely, the absolute need for regional and subregional cooperation. The impressive accumulation of national reports had illustrated the value of several lessons, but related efforts would only be meaningful and effective if framed in the context of regional action. He asked Ambassador Greenstock for his views about how the Committee could ensure such coordination at the regional and subregional levels. Europe’s coordination was proceeding in a consistent manner, through a European mobilization plan.
Another lesson flowed from the linkage between organized crime and terrorism, he said. That should be borne in mind when evolving ways of combating that scourge. His country was alert to the human rights abuses by certain governments in connection with their struggle against terrorism. It had agreed, however, that the Committee had not mandated reporting on the human rights dimensions; its function was to oversee implementation of resolution 1373 (2001). Still, nothing prevented national reports in the public domain from being considered by other organizations, such as non-governmental organizations.
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said in response to the 11 September attack, the United Nations had acted promptly. The work of the Committee had yielded preliminary results, and most countries had submitted national reports. The global fight against terrorism required more effective efforts on the national level in order to be successful.
The efforts of regional and subregional organization in the fight against terrorism should also be highlighted, he continued. The meeting of the "Shanghai Group", consisting of the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and China, had issued a joint statement that a counter-terrorism mechanism would be established in the near future. The Council should support regional efforts to combat terrorism, and he hoped the Committee would make relevant efforts in that regard.
The Counter-terrorism Committee should base itself on resolution 1373 (2001) and treat all Member States equally, without double standards, he said. The Committee was the only organization mandated to monitor implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and to make a decisive judgement on national reports. The Committee should strengthen its cooperation with other relevant organizations, and international and regional organizations should also submit reports to the Committee. He supported establishing a fund for assistance to Member States to implement the resolution. The Committee’s priority task was to complete the examination of national reports now, rather than be involved in questions beyond its mandate.
KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said that terrorism threatened hopes for a civil, peaceful, equitable, democratic and cooperative global order. Indeed, terrorism was the "disorder", which undermined that search. Global terrorism had turned its malign attention to many countries across the world for decades; it had disrupted and retarded peace, economic progress and development, social harmony and political institution-building. Experience had shown that open, liberal and democratic societies were particularly vulnerable. Until recently, the international community’s response had been generally disengaged and apathetic.
He said that without universal ownership of the fight against terror and shared resolve, its creeping tentacles could not be blunted and destroyed. The world community had responded to the collective challenge through resolutions of both the General Assembly and Security Council. Adoption of resolution 1373 (2001) had sent an unambiguous signal that the world community would admit no space for terrorists or their sponsors; it conveyed the resolve that, henceforth, there would be "zero tolerance" for the perpetrators and instigators.
The dispatch with which the Council had adopted that text and set up the Counter-terrorism Committee had underlined the importance and urgency with which the global community had decided to combat terrorism, collectively and unitedly, he said. The Committee had worked tirelessly in the short period of its existence to mount a counter-offensive on international terrorism. Sir Jeremy Greenstock had also set an example by holding regular briefings and sharing with the non-members of the Council his ideas on full implementation of the resolution. Countries’ responses had been prompt.
He said his country had been a victim of State-sponsored, cross-border terrorism for two decades now, with a horrendous toll in tens of thousands. It had fought that terror and would continue to do so with unflinching determination and resolve. He shared some suggestions, based on its lessons from that tragic period. More information could be sought from affected countries, and use could be made of the list of terrorist groups and their supporters, which had been drawn up by the Sanctions Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267. Specifically, reports that accounts were being frozen after allowing the terrorist organizations to withdraw or transfer funds should be looked into critically.
The Council and the Committee should not accept any putative justification or excuse for terrorism, he continued. By holding them accountable and making an example of them, the Council and the Committee would demonstrate that they "mean business". Extension of support to terrorism in any form, including moral, political and diplomatic, clearly contravened resolution 1373. Left unchallenged, statements of such support and other "pseudo-justifications" would leave open the text to mischievous and self-serving misrepresentations and misinterpretations, thereby undermining its intent.
He said that terrorists and their sponsors had become used to empty gestures and rhetoric from the international community for a number of years. Those would now be testing its resolve to fully and faithfully implement the counter-terrorism resolution. While his Government would take whatever actions it deemed necessary to end terrorist activities directed against its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, the existence of, and support to, terrorist groups after 28 September, such as Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, directly and completely contravened resolution 1373 (2001).
OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) said his country, having suffered the barbarism of terrorism for nearly 20 years, had already sent information on its experience in the struggle against terrorism to the Committee. He emphasized that the same energy and decisiveness that must be applied to the measures of the international community in the struggle against terrorism must also be applied in respecting the civil and political rights of the population. The best antidote against terrorism was the tolerance that could only be achieved within democracy. A struggle against terrorism that destroyed democracy, that violated human rights and that sheltered itself behind impunity impoverished a society, as national experience had borne out.
The Council and General Assembly must clearly indicate that terrorist groups were human rights violators, as had been indicated by the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. There were no more effective measures in the anti-terrorist struggle than those that came from the concerted efforts within the framework of the United Nations. Terrorism was a global problem, and its elimination could only be the responsibility of the organized international community. Top priority should be given to the completion of an international convention against terrorism, he said.
He said the Committee should also pay attention to the elimination of threats of a biological nature and to strengthening nuclear and radiological safety and the safe transportation of radioactive waste. The success of the struggle against terrorism was based not only on a broad partnership between States, but also on partnerships with the private sector, the academic sector and civil society.
MOHAMED BENNOUNA (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group of States, said the actions of the Council and the creation of the Counter-terrorism Committee would help uproot terrorism. As soon as resolution 1373 (2001) had been adopted, the Arab countries set up the necessary mechanisms, both nationally and regionally, to secure implementation of the text’s provisions. Those countries that had not yet had the required structures had since set them up. The Arab States had also updated their legislation, in order to act effectively against terrorism, through the adoption of preventive and deterrent measures, including controls on suspicious sources of financing.
He said that the Arab countries would pursue efforts to update legal systems and, if necessary, call for assistance from others with experience in that field. Regionally, those nations had created a group of experts under the auspices of the League of Arab States, in order to coordinate and achieve synergistic developments in the efforts to implement the counter-terrorism text. The Group had recently issued a statement outlining such efforts and support for the adoption of a comprehensive convention against terrorism. The Group had also sought global agreement on a definition of terrorism. That would facilitate international efforts by clarifying the different positions.
The Arab Group also believed it was essential to avoid any misuse of the term "terrorism" that was aimed at serving particular political interests, he went on. One could not justify any infringement on the lives of innocent civilians. The basic human rights of the Palestinians were being flouted, yet the relevant international legal system had endowed them with the right to self-defence under those difficult and sensitive conditions. The Group condemned those serious violations of international humanitarian law, as reflected in the daily tragic events in the area. In particular, the attempts to kill the Palestinians, starve them, displace them, deprive them of their freedoms, and to wage a blockage and siege on the cities. Such practices had awakened the public conscience.
Even more serious had been attempts to take advantage of the events of 11 September to achieve advances at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people, he said. Such attempts could have a disastrous effect on the peace process and undermine the credibility of efforts deployed by the international community to combat terrorism. Negotiation should prevail over violence, so that the Middle East might break out of the current cycle. The time had come for the Palestinians to obtain a state, with Jerusalem as its capital. Israel should realize that the best guarantee of security flowed from that fundamental demand and its withdrawal from the occupied territories.
JEREMY GREENSTOCK, Chairman of the Committee, reacting to some remarks made during the debate on regional cooperation by Ireland and Bulgaria, said the Committee was very interested in taking forward the regional dimension. Generally, regions were composed of Member States with similar traditions and cultures, and lessons could be learned from that. Some members of the region could learn from others.
Another aspect of regional cooperation was more political, he said. It was a matter of mutual encouragement between Member States of a region in taking action against terrorism. "If your neighbour has not met the standards of resolution 1373 (2001), it is a danger to you", he said. If there were gaps in capacity to counter terrorism within a region, there was a need for regional encouragement for those gaps to be filled.
Regarding comments from India, he said the Committee had agreed not to go into specific cases because the Committee’s job was raising global capacity, and resolution 1373 (2001) was clear that the obligation for specific actions rested on Member States.
Concerning State terrorism, the Committee had taken the trouble to proceed by consensus and keep subjectivism to a minimum, he said. Resolution 1373 (2001) was the primary guide for the Committee, but the Committee was also conscious of the 12 international Conventions on the subject, and none of them referred to State terrorism, which was not an international legal concept. If States abused their power, they should be judged against international conventions dealing with war crimes, international human rights and international humanitarian law.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said peacekeeping operations were the heart and soul of the work of the Security Council and the only activity for which it had a unique mandate. However, the 11 September events had brought new responsibilities to the Council’s work. Traditional definitions of threats to international peace and security no longer held. As a subsidiary organ of the Council, the Counter-terrorism Committee was unique. While the Committee could not directly prevent terrorist attacks, it was its job to ensure that all States would implement the necessary legislations, regulations and frameworks to prevent another 11 September.
He emphasized the importance of practical cooperation in combating terrorism. Two common threads had emerged from the discussions and statements on terrorism in various regional and international forums: a clear condemnation of terrorism, and the resolve to make common cause against it. The Committee remained crucial in coordinating global action against terrorism. Each and every Member State and regional organization, however, had an important role to play to root out and destroy the driving forces of international terrorism.
Singapore had actively participated in discussions on counter-terrorism measures in various international and regional organizations, among which the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chiefs of Police Conference. Singapore’s security agency had broken up a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Americans in Singapore, and had briefed, and received briefings from, foreign intelligence partners during the operation. He said that only through closer and deeper coordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, one could prevail against terrorism. Reflection on what psychological insecurities needed to be addressed in order to prevent eruption of violent solutions was also necessary.
WEGGER STROMMEN (Norway) said the Committee had already proved itself to be a very important instrument in global cooperation against terrorism. He welcomed the national reports submitted, and encouraged those States that had not yet reported to do so as soon as possible. Its aim was to cooperate, to support Member States in strengthening national legislation, and to share best practices. Many States would need technical and financial assistance, and his country was considering how best to meet requests for assistance.
The initial focus in the fight against terrorism had been on Al Qaeda and the Taliban, he said. There was now hope that Afghanistan would not again be used as a base for terrorists and their supporters. That could, however, not be taken for granted. An international presence in support of the political process would be needed and would remain relevant after the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks had been brought to justice. There could be no justification for terrorism.
ALFONSO VALDIVIEZO (Colombia) associated himself with the statement already made on behalf of the Rio Group. He noted that the Counter-terrorism Committee had responded to expectations in a positive and transparent manner, and to reach its objectives the prime importance of repressing and preventing the flow of resources to terrorists should be recognized. The links must be cut that made it possible for economic resources to fall into the wrong hands. Criminal organizations transferred their resources and the products of their criminal activity among the various countries of the world through non-formal sectors and through international trade.
He highlighted the need to combat the laundering of money or assets, which circulated in States as a result of terrorist activities, was crucial. Deposits in banks and other financial entities must be monitored and sanctions should be imposed, if appropriate. The trails of those resources should also be followed. The global struggle against terrorism would succeed only if the transferring and laundering of illicit products was repressed. The formula, "know your client", was the best way to prevent the funding and successful outcome of terrorist activity. Attention should also be drawn to the diversification and inter-connectedness of criminal enterprises, he said.
SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that the steps taken by the Council to combat that serious threat to international peace and security, as well as the formation of the Counter-terrorism Committee, were unprecedented in their approach and global in their scope. Those measures sought to cut off financing and other forms of support for international terrorism everywhere. Terror was a menace that should be fought at all levels. His country deplored violence of any sort or scale, especially violence engineered by dogma or theology; its people had, themselves, been victims of violence and terrorism.
He said that following the adoption of the counter-terrorism text by the Council, Pakistan offered its full support to that international fight, which had been translated into resolute and decisive action. Pakistan’s President had warned that the Government would not allow its writ to be challenged by anyone. Wide-ranging measures, including reform of the police and judiciary systems, were being carried out, and a crackdown had begun on groups engaged in fomenting violence and militancy.
Everyone would agree that the measures taken by his Government had far exceeded the requirements of the Council’s resolution, he said. There was no other country that had put more at stake than Pakistan on that issue and no other country had gone to the extent that Pakistan had in the fight against terrorism. Even as it fought terrorism, it could not be misled away from the main task at hand. A crisis had been provoked in his region, for the sake of political opportunism, by confusing and obfuscating the issue and fudging the very definition of terrorism.
The crisis imposed on Pakistan had been accompanied by blatant threats of use of force and had shifted the focus away from the real fight against terrorism, he continued. If those who had provoked that confrontation were really sincere about fighting terrorism, then they should practice what they preached and, in so doing, end the terrorism that they, themselves, had perpetrated and perpetuated under the guise of democracy and secularism. The many forms of terrorism should be included in Council’s resolutions on the subjects, and under the purview of the Counter-terrorism Committee.
Thirteen million people in the Indian-held Kashmir were struggling for their freedom against foreign occupation and alien domination, he said. They continued to be deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination and had been victims of State terrorism and repression of the most brutal sort. While a just cause could not be ennobled by the killing of innocent civilians, neither could the civilized community of nations condone the use of force for the repression of a legitimate cause. Pakistan was ready to resolve the dispute through peaceful means and had backed up its words with deeds and resolute action.
How long would Kashmir be a nuclear flashpoint and remain the most dangerous place on earth? he asked. Those were unusual times demanding exceptional responses. As the world confronted the universal evil of terrorism, it could not be oblivious of the need to address the source of that problem at its roots. The Council must rise above power polities and political expediency and respond to crises and conflicts in an objective manner. It was time for courageous decisions, for correcting historical wrongs and redressing endemic injustices. The universal obligation to fight terrorism must not deflect from the need for a just, lasting and honourable settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
The meeting was suspended at 1:32 p.m. and resumed at 3:23 p.m.
YOSHIYUKI MOTOMURA (Japan) said his country wished to associate itself with the statement made by Canada on behalf of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries describing the Group’s counter-terrorism activities. The specific measures taken by Japan vis-à-vis such activities had also been presented on various occasions, including at Council meetings.
He said the fight against terrorism would not be successful unless the overall capability of the international community to respond and suppress such acts was upgraded. Of utmost importance was international cooperation to help countries that were willing, but unable to improve their counter-terrorism activities. Japan hoped to play an active role in such cooperative efforts. As detailed in its report to the Counter-terrorism Committee on the implementation of resolution 1373, his country maintained solid programmes of bilateral assistance, including training programmes in counter-terrorism, and was committed to doubling the number of participants in such programmes this year. If there was a need by Member States for various forms of assistance during the course of the implementation of 1373 (2001), Japan was also prepared to provide further assistance.
He said the activities of the Counter-terrorism Committee experts were important in ensuring the smooth implementation of resolution 1373 (2001). His Government was also confident that its own candidate, Toshihiko Tanaka, if appointed as a Committee expert, would make valuable contributions to that body’s work. He concluded by saying that, although the fight against terrorism could by no means be reduced to the single issue of Afghanistan, an important component of the fight was to ensure that country was never again used as a safe haven for international terrorists. He hoped the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, which was being hosted by Japan in Tokyo next week, would be an important step towards achieving that end by ensuring a stable and prosperous future for that country.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the imperative was to implement resolution 1373 (2001) nationally, regionally and globally. Highlighting some of his country’s efforts in that regard, he said Bangladesh would need technical support and assistance in strengthening counter-terrorism measures and meeting the objectives of the resolution. Such assistance could take the form of support for the modernization of border control and immigration procedures, banking mechanisms, computerization and training personnel in the relevant services. Exchange of information and coordination of efforts at the regional level would also effectively contribute towards combating terrorism.
Human Rights Watch, in its 16 January report, had warned that the anti-terrorism campaign was fuelling opportunistic attacks on civil liberties around the world, he continued. There was no denying the fact that a defeat of the fundamental amorality of terrorism would require a firm grounding in international human rights. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson had also expressed concerns that the international duty to act against terrorism was being used to suppress the legitimate expression of grievances and to justify the oppression of minorities. Such concerns, based on objective realities, must be taken seriously.
The Council and the whole United Nations system needed to devote the necessary investment in the rehabilitation of failed States. "The failing States also require our attention", he added. "We should also look at the danger lurking in our backyards. Analysts considered Afghanistan as a time bomb. We did not pay heed. Let us make a difference now", he urged.
SERGEI S. LING (Belarus) said his country, along with a majority of Member States, had already submitted its report to the Committee. The submitted report contained a review of efforts by his country to combat terrorism in line with the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) and showed that Belarus had carried out serious and comprehensive work in implementation of that resolution. The rule of providing reports had created a mechanism of monitoring and a model of a legal regime to combat terrorism.
He believed the value and authority of the Committee’s conclusions would increase if its experts were appointed by equitable geographical representation and hoped that, in the future, greater attention would be paid to that issue. It was also important to assist Member States in implementing the resolution. As Belarus was situated at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, strict border control was important to prevent arms trafficking and illegal immigration, among other things. His country was working hard to establish effective border controls, but was hampered by economic constraints. Specific proposals would be submitted to the Committee relating to assistance in that regard, he said.
FRANÇOIS L. FALL (Guinea) said that immediately following the tragic events of 11 September, the international community and the United Nations had expressed their resolve to counter terrorism, and effective and vigorous measures must be taken by all States to combat it. That was why his country unreservedly supported the provisions contained in the Council resolutions since the attacks, especially resolution 1373 (2001). Since its inception, the Counter-terrorism Committee had done remarkable work.
He said it was time to move ahead and concretize the analyses derived from the reports of Member States, in order to harmonize activities in the terrorism fight. The representation of all regions within the group of experts would foster greater understanding. Also, the Committee could strengthen its cooperation with regional groups. Also, special attention should be given to States with the greatest need for assistance in elaborating their reports. The prompt establishment of a trust fund would also be welcome. The results achieved thus far by the world community bore witness to the resolve to combat terrorism.
SERGEY N. KAREV (Russian Federation) said that today as never before the world community was united in recognizing the need for an uncompromising battle to eliminate terrorism. Council resolution 1373 (2001) was undoubtedly a major historic document. Far from being only a declaratory appeal, it had obligated all States to lead a decisive struggle against terrorism, for as long as it took, and by all necessary means. The Counter-terrorism Committee must be an effective mechanism of international monitoring, but it must not function as a repressive body. Its main task lay in analysing the information provided by States on the counter-terrorist measures they had taken, and to submit appropriate recommendations.
The Committee was also intended to provide the necessary technical and advisory assistance to States to enable them to fulfil their obligations under the resolution, he said. He noted with satisfaction the large number of countries that had submitted national reports, as required by the resolution, but he was concerned that nearly one third of Member States had not yet done so. For its part, Russia was taking all necessary steps to respond to the text, including the signing by its President of a decree specifically aimed at its implementation. It had also taken such steps as freezing certain suspicious accounts and modifying existing national legislation. Russia was a party to 10 of the 12 universal Conventions against terrorism. The two remaining ones were in the final stages of legal review.
JANUSZ STAŃCZYK (Poland) said his country associated itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union by Spain. On 6 November 2001, Poland had also hosted the Warsaw Conference on Combating Terrorism. That Conference brought together heads of State of Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe with the aim of enhancing regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism and identifying areas of particular significance for the struggle against that scourge. The result was the adoption of a declaration and an action plan, which determined the steps to be undertaken by the participants (document S/2001/1142).
He said the heads of State at the Warsaw Conference were unanimous in their condemnation of the 11 September terrorist attacks. Moreover, participants pledged full support for anti-terrorist action being taken within the framework of the United Nations’ call to all States to fully implement the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) and to ratify the existing international Conventions on terrorism. While highlighting the need to take practical steps to prevent and suppress terrorism, the participants of the Warsaw Conference agreed that sustainable efforts in that respect were required. Such efforts should address not only the symptoms of the scourge, but also its causes. One of the objectives that should be pursued was the promotion of tolerance and multiculturalism. The participating States, therefore, decided to consider the convening of a conference aimed at supporting the activities of civil society to promote tolerance.
He said the participants at Warsaw did not intend the Conference to be a one-time event, but rather a process through which they would be better able to deal with the common threat of terrorism. Regional efforts were aimed at complementing and reinforcing the global effort in which the United Nations played a fundamental role, he added. It had been encouraging to learn that resolution 1373 (2001) had elicited an unparalleled response from Member States -- a clear sign of the commitment of countries to the struggle against terrorism. Poland would spare no efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Charter and to substantially contribute to the achievement of the goals set out by the Organization.
JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said pledges of support were not sufficient to fight the evil of terrorism. Practical actions were needed. His country had signed the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and would ratify it as soon as possible. Thus, it would have ratified all global conventions combating terrorism that were practically implementable by a landlocked country. The Mongolian Parliament had also strengthened relevant anti-terrorist provisions of its criminal legislation.
He said an effective way to combat terrorism would be to deprive terrorists of "ideological justification" of their actions, which could be considered as a form of preventive diplomacy. The General Assembly should continue to address the different aspects of terrorism, including legal, socio-economic and even cultural aspects, all of which remained outside the Council’s mandate. He hoped that the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism would soon be able to finalize the draft convention against nuclear terrorism and the comprehensive convention against terrorism. The entry into force of the Statute of the International Criminal Court should also be accelerated. Long-standing and festering international problems on which terrorism fed should also be addressed. Regional action to combat terrorism was very important, as well.
The strategy of combating terrorism could not be effective if the root causes were not addressed properly. Many of those causes were to be found in or connected with abject poverty. The General Assembly should, therefore, redouble its efforts to address the question of reducing and eliminating poverty in line with the objectives of the Millennium Declaration. After the Counter-terrorism Committee had presented its report, conclusions and recommendations, the Assembly might take up the question of combating international terrorism in a special session.
M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) spoke on behalf of the 14 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member States. She said, while there were no reservations about what needed to be done, it must also be recognized that there was an added burden placed on States in implementing the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001). Not all States had an equal capacity to fully implement the measures called for in the text. Many faced the prospect of not being able to fully commit scarce resources to that endeavour. It was, therefore, incumbent on the international community, led by those with the capacity to do so, to provide the necessary financial and technical assistance to those who needed it. The fight against international terrorism could only succeed if all Member States had the capacity to play the role envisioned in resolution 1373 (2001).
She said it was important to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional and international levels to strengthen the global response to the serious challenges posed by the links between international terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and illegal arms trafficking. The CARICOM urged the Committee to engage fully in assisting member States in dealing with those problems through facilitating the exchange of information, technical assistance and other forms of support.
She said CARICOM believed very strongly that the international community must be prepared to address the problems of poverty; the prevalence of regional conflicts; the denial of human rights; the denial of access to justice for all, as well as equal protection under the law; the lack of sustainable development; and environmental protection. While stating unequivocally that no cause or grievance could justify reprehensible attacks on innocent victims, she stressed that it must be recognized that there were conditions which provided fertile breeding grounds for terrorism and a cover for those who perpetrated terrorist acts. Those issues must, therefore, be featured prominently on the agenda of the international community.
SERBINI ALI (Brunei Darussalam), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that during the past few years, the ASEAN member countries had steadily strengthened their cooperation in countering terrorism and other related transnational crimes. They noted the close link between international terrorism and other transnational crimes, and recognized the growing need to deal with its many forms. Terrorist acts required concerted and sustained action at all levels. With that in mind, the ASEAN leaders had adopted the "ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism" on 5 November, as their regional response.
In that Declaration, the leaders expressed their commitment to counter, prevent and suppress all forms of terrorist acts, he went on. They underlined the importance of strengthening regional and international cooperation in meeting those challenges. At the same time, they rejected any attempt to link terrorism with any religion or race. They also renewed their commitment to pursue effective policies aimed at enhancing the well-being of their people, as national contributions to fighting terrorism.
He said that all cooperative efforts to combat terrorism at the regional level should consider joint practical counter-terrorism measures in line with the specific circumstances of each region and country. Towards that goal, ASEAN Foreign Ministers would consider, at their meeting next month, an agreement on an exchange of information and the establishment of communication procedures within that context. As a follow-up to the Declaration, ASEAN would soon convene an ad hoc experts group meeting, as well as a special ministerial meeting on issues of terrorism in April.
FRANCISCO SEIXAS DA COSTA (Portugal) spoke in his capacity as representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
He said the OSCE was determined to contribute to the fulfilment of international obligations set forth in resolution 1373 (2001), while all its participating States had pledged to become parties to all 12 United Nations Conventions and Protocols related to terrorism as soon as possible. The OSCE member States had also offered to support, through technical assistance, Central Asian partners, upon their request, in countering terrorist-related external threats. He said the adoption by his organization of a detailed plan of action for combating terrorism must be seen as an effort to complement other actions being taken by other international institutions.
"We intend to focus in areas where we can have an added value in preventive, as well as crisis-management, tasks –- like police training, border controls and adoption of appropriate legislation, as well as judicial reform", he said.
The OSCE plan of action covered a wide range of issues and aimed to establish a framework for comprehensive action to be taken by States members and the organization as a whole to combat terrorism. The plan sought to expand existing activities that contributed to the fight against terrorism, facilitate interaction between States and, where appropriate, identify new instruments for action, he said. His Chairman-in-Office also intended to nominate a personal representative to coordinate the political aspects of the anti-terrorism thrust with other international organizations. It was also the intention to work towards the adoption of an OSCE charter against terrorism –- a goal, which would hopefully be achieved soon.
He said that, in June, Portugal intended to organize in Lisbon a meeting of the secretaries-general of all the principal international organizations to consider joint efforts to combat terrorism. "We believe that such an initiative may contribute to a better coordination of international efforts and may guarantee global coherence between the work of those organizations", he added.
ALISHER VOHIDOV (Uzbekistan) said the creation of the Committee had demonstrated that the United Nations was a key international structure in countering terrorism and other threats in the twenty-first century. His country had submitted its support to the Committee. Contact centres in his country were ready for active dialogue with the corresponding contacts in other States and competent international organizations. In its first 90 days, the Committee had achieved positive results in implementing the provisions of operative paragraph 6 of resolution 1373 (2001).
His country was party to all 12 Conventions and Protocols regarding international terrorism. The Millennium Declaration had expressed support for measures to combat terrorism. A comprehensive convention to combat international terrorism and the convention to combat nuclear terrorism were necessary, but reality showed that adoption of legal instruments was not enough. The threat of obtaining nuclear material by terrorists was real, and a global system to prevent that should be created within the United Nations. The United Nations’ potential to combat terrorism had to be strengthened.
He was convinced that only through joined efforts could international terrorism be countered. He supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to speedily convene a high-level conference to develop a plan to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
VINCI N. CLODUMAR (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group maintaining permanent missions in New York, said member States of the Group had individually and collectively resolved to do everything they could to combat the scourge of terrorism. He appreciated the understanding the Committee had shown regarding technical and other assistance which some countries would need to fulfil their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001).
In addition to reports individual member States had submitted to the Committee, the secretariat of the Forum had also submitted a report highlighting regional aspects, he said. The Forum was seeking to strengthen the way it dealt with money laundering and suppressing the financing of terrorism, as well as with the challenge of illegal people-smuggling. Forum members were examining model legislation on extradition, mutual assistance in criminal matters, the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime, and measures to counter money laundering. They were working more closely than ever with international organizations to fight terrorism and transnational crime.
DURGA P. BHATTARAI (Nepal) said it had been his country’s principal position to condemn terrorism in all its manifestations. Nepal had supported all relevant Council actions, particularly resolution 1373 (2001), as well as the work of the Counter-terrorism Committee. Nationally, Nepal had become prey to the serious terrorist activities of the so-called Maoist outfits for more than five years. That had caused the deaths of more than 2,000 people and the irreparable loss of property, and had delayed the overall development process. A state of emergency had thus been declared.
He said his country’s strong determination to support the implementation of the Council’s text had led to its timely submission of its national report, despite financial, technical and other difficulties. While the report might not be comprehensive, it provided a sense of the magnitude of terrorism in the country and the steps Nepal was taking to combat it. With the assistance of the Counter-terrorism Committee, a more comprehensive picture might be developed in due course. Such assistance could be wide-ranging and should be identified with the utmost care.
At the global level, Nepal was already a party to six of the 12 anti-terrorism international Conventions and a signatory of a seventh -– the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, he said. Measures were being taken to strengthen existing legal provisions and prepare for joining the remaining instruments. Despite great sensitivities and the fragile atmosphere in South Asia, the South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had provided a valuable forum for its seven members and had important regional potential.
Struck with the hard blows of terrorism, South Asia had become fully aware of its magnitude and potential harm, he said. The SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism had been adopted in Katmandu as early as 1987. Of the seven such regional instruments concluded to date around the world, the SAARC Convention had been among the first three. The Eleventh SAARC Summit, held in Katmandu in January, had given forceful impetus to efforts aimed at developing enabling legislation in all member States.
He highlighted the relevant portions of the Declaration adopted by the heads of State or government of the seven member countries at the January Summit, which agreed that terrorism violated the fundamental values of the United Nations and the SAARC Charter and constituted one of the most serious threats to international peace and security in the twenty-first century. The leaders had reiterated their support for Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and affirmed their determination to redouble efforts, collectively and individually, to prevent and suppress terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The war on terrorism should be taken as a "twin" war, on the front of peace, as well as on the front of development, he said. Deprivation, discrimination and disputes nourished most of the difficult social evils, such as terrorism. That borderless problem needed an international alliance to forge and implement commensurate remedies. It was only with sustained commitment and international cooperation that that war -– over dehumanizing poverty, ignorance and exclusion –- could be won. It was a prerequisite for durable peace and development.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), said terrorist acts were a grave challenge to all, making it incumbent to act to eradicate that scourge. He was convinced of the need to mobilize against terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations, which was the only forum that could face the challenge effectively. He reaffirmed the commitment of the governments of the OIC to eliminate terrorism. During a recent emergency meeting of the OIC, it had been reaffirmed that all practical measures would be taken in accordance with all resolution and agreements to which the Islamic States were party.
All States must commit to international efforts aimed at dealing with issues fomenting terrorism, such as poverty, hunger, disease and despair, as well as regional conflicts, the deprivation of fundamental rights and human rights, and the lack of durable development and environmental protection, he said. The definition of terrorism and the drafting of an international convention to combat terrorism were practical issues. A strict definition could help in waging the war on that scourge. The lack of an international understanding on the definition of terrorism only encouraged some organizations to use terrorism towards their objectives. Any delay in establishing a definition would weaken the fight against terrorism.
The international community must not make the mistake of confusing terrorism with the fight for independence. The right of the Palestinian people to struggle for independence was legitimate. He stressed the organization’s commitment to combat terrorism and rejected all forms of international terrorism, condemning all terrorism that threatened economic and social development and stability of all States. International terrorism was a complicated issue that must be fought through a comprehensive approach, he said.
YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said that, just yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist had perpetrated another atrocity in the Israeli city of Hadera, when a terrorist from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group linked to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah Movement, entered a wedding hall packed with hundreds of people and opened fire with an automatic rifle and hand grenades. The attack killed six Israelis and wounded more than 30 others. If the gunman’s weapon had not misfired after several rounds, that terrorist rampage would have surely claimed the lives of dozens more.
He said it was as a result of such attacks that Israel had developed an extensive network of government authorities, a body of domestic legislation, a range of practical policies and an intense commitment to combat terrorism in all its aspects. Its report, submitted according to resolution 1373 (2001), outlined the steps taken by Israel to combat terror and comply with the Council’s demands. It described in detail the extensive legal instruments Israel had created and the policies it had enacted to protect its citizens from harm and support the international anti-terrorism campaign.
Cooperation with other countries and with the international community had been a mainstay of Israel’s anti-terrorism strategy for decades, he said. Israel had long recognized that the increasingly global nature of the terrorist threat had increased the need for cooperation among States. That had been reinforced by Israeli legislation and in agreements reached with other States. Consequently, Israel shared its knowledge and expertise in fighting terrorism with other States and constantly sought to learn from their experiences, as well. The continued sharing of information was central to its counter-terrorist strategies. Israel also placed great importance on participation in the relevant international instruments.
He said his country warmly welcomed the establishment of the Counter-terrorism Committee, which had a crucial role to play in helping States develop counter-terrorism strategies and ensuring compliance with the Council’s text. Foremost among its objectives was the carefully scrutiny of country reports and the close monitoring of actions taken by States to bring their national legislation and policies into accord with the will of the international community. The Committee should not be prevented from drawing attention to States that failed to fulfil their international responsibilities. No State could be allowed to believe that it could support terrorism with impunity.
Also important was that the campaign against terrorism make no distinctions between terrorist organizations on the basis of the causes they espoused and the objectives they purported to pursue. The principle that no cause justified the deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilians must be defended. Terrorism should be defined on the basis of what one did, not why one did it.
On Syria’s statement to the Council, he said that was a transparent attempt to divert attention from its own record as a country that supported, encouraged, financed and harboured a "vast gamut" of terrorist organizations. When Syria was elected to the Council, the international community had hoped that it would become a more responsible member of the family of nations. After listening to the Syrian statement, he had to conclude that, unfortunately, Syria had so far failed to rise to that challenge.
HADI NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said terrorism had no religion, no nationality or ethnic background. It was the negation of everything religions stood for. Intolerance, extremism and violence had no place in Islam or among its adherents. Islam categorically condemned the killing of a single innocent human being and equated it with genocide against all humankind. Combating terrorism required a great deal of collective reflection and wisdom for a rational response that should focus on both terrorism as a crime and on its root causes of injustice and exclusion that could be exploited by demagogues.
In fighting terrorism, it was important to articulate objective criteria that would enable the international community to identify and combat terrorism regardless of its victims or culprits. It was not acceptable that patterns of alliance rather than actual engagement in terrorist activities became the determining factor. The credibility of the campaign against terrorism was seriously undermined when policies and practices designed to instil terror among the entire Palestinian people received acquiescing silence, while resistance to foreign occupation and State terrorism was conveniently demonized, he said. Those who fought against foreign occupation in the exercise of their legitimate rights should be distinguished from terrorists.
Iran had submitted its national report to the Committee on 27 December 2001. His Government was in the process of completing and updating, where necessary, its national instruments for combating terrorism. In that effort, his country had closed the Iran-Afghan border and closely monitored border areas with a view to preventing the movement of Al Qaeda elements. Al Qaeda elements had never been able to use Iranian territory, and his Government was determined to deny them any access in the future. His country had enormously high stakes in making sure that peace and stability returned to Afghanistan, and terrorism was uprooted in that country, he said.
M. NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, expressed respect for the efforts of the Committee, including the efforts of its Chairman. In a statement made before the Council in December, he said the Palestinian party had taken a very clear position against international terrorism and terrorist groups. It had also opposed suicide attacks in Israel against Israeli civilians and considered them terrorist acts which ran counter to Palestinian commitments and jeopardized Palestinian interests.
While he did not support such acts, he could not accept any attempt to depict them as terrorist acts. Those acts were legitimate under international law, he said. In the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, there were no protected Israeli civilians. They were colonists. Most were armed, which made them militias or illegal combatants, who had terrorized Palestinians. The acts of those
He did not understand the remarks made this morning regarding the absence of a legal basis for the term "State terrorism". If an act was terrorism, it was terrorism whether committed by individuals, organizations or States. How could there exist State-sponsored terrorism if there was no State terrorism? he asked. If a terrorist act was perpetrated by people working for a State, it was State terrorism. Such strange talk underlined the importance of finishing the work of the General Assembly on a convention to combat terrorism. He called on all Member States to make additional efforts to arrive at the necessary solutions to realize a major achievement in combating international terrorism.
RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said that his country had understood the need to actively fight terrorism before the attacks of 11 September. In November 1999, it had adopted a special law on counter-terrorism, and today it was a party to the majority of the relevant international conventions. The adoption of resolution 1373 (2001) had given a powerful impetus to that battle worldwide and was one more proof of the shared determination of the world community to cooperate closely in preventing and suppressing terrorist acts. The text should play a decisive role in developing a global mechanism to counter terrorism.
He noted that, in just 90 days, the Counter-terrorism Committee had managed to implement many of its tasks. Tajikistan would expand its cooperation with the Committee, including through the receipt of technical and advisory assistance. In order to harmonize its legislation with the Council’s resolution, Tajikistan had adopted a special decree on compliance, which would be monitored by the Ministry of Security. Also, a central bank had been instructed to take certain related measures, including the prompt freezing of funds of assets of terrorists or their assistants.
The struggle would be long and difficult, he said. The United Nations and Security Council would play a leading role. For its part, Tajikistan would make every possible additional effort to expand cooperation with all interested States so as to make a tangible contribution to that common battle.
MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) was reassured by the significant number of States which had made their reports to the Committee concerning measures to implement the resolution. That was a sign of the international community’s renewed determination to stand united against terrorism, the scourge of modern times. The rapid reaction of the international community to the 11 September attacks meant that the world would not allow to be taken hostage by terrorists.
The global character of terrorism and its links with transnational crime necessarily meant that there must be a global and concerted response from the international community to it. All States had the duty to make their contribution to efforts against international terrorism. To put an end to terrorism, situations of injustice which bred terrorism must be overcome. Cameroon had taken the necessary steps to implement resolution 1373 (2001) in its territory. Appropriate legislation had been adopted to combat terrorism. Measures had been taken by security services to prevent Cameroon territory from being used for terrorist acts.
During the consideration of the question of terrorism by the General Assembly, Cameroon had stressed the need for assistance to developing countries to strengthen national and regional capacity to combat terrorism. Those concerns had been taken into account in the Committee’s programme of work. The repression of terrorism was a fertile field of international law, but existing conventions pertained to specific categories of terrorist acts and did not constitute an appropriate response. He suggested that the Council encourage the Committee on terrorism to speedily complete a general convention on terrorism. The Committee should also be invited to complete the drafting of the International Convention for the Repression of Nuclear Terrorist Acts, he said.
JORGE EDUARDO NAVARRETE (Mexico) associated himself with the statement made on behalf of the Rio Group and had found shared concerns with the statement made on behalf of CARICOM. Resolution 1373 was an additional tool to make global efforts to eradicate terrorism more effective. The atrocious attacks of 11 September had revealed the extreme gravity of the current manifestation of terrorism and the need to work in unison to prevent such sowing of terror among populations. Applied in good faith and without double standards, the text should be able to combat terrorism.
He said his country had submitted its initial report to the Counter-terrorism Committee and would continue to adopt the measures required to implement the Council’s text. The Committee’s objective was to ensure that States could enhance their level of response in combating terrorism. To reach that goal, the Committee should ensure transparency, objectivity, dialogue and coordination in the conduct of its work. Indeed, those elements had characterized its actions thus far. The Committee was not a tribunal, but rather found in international cooperation its scope of action.
Technical assistance, when required by States, was a central feature in fulfilling the resolution, he said. The Committee, therefore, should assist States in overcoming any such difficulties, especially since one third of United Nations Member States had not been able to submit their reports. What additional steps might Ambassador Greenstock suggest to make that assistance more effective? he asked. He suggested that other forums might be included in discussions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for example, was working on combating nuclear terrorism.
JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), speaking in his national capacity, said that the events of 11 September had proved that combating international terrorism remained the main priority of the international community, regional organizations and individual States. That had become a pressing, complex, and unpredictable real global challenge requiring urgent attention at all levels. Resolution 1373 (2001) was a binding and mandatory collective approach to rid the world from that scourge. That was the right step, and it required unanimous support on all fronts.
He said that combating international terrorism would not be easy without a comprehensive collective plan of action. The fight was one in which all States needed to act promptly and decisively. Failure on the part of one State could break the "chain of support" so desperately needed to combat threats to international peace and security posed by terrorist acts. All States, therefore, should collaborate fully in the implementation of the Council’s text and put in place all necessary national mechanisms. Member States and the Counter-terrorism Committee had shown their full dedication to the fight.
In Mauritius, every effort was geared towards preventing and suppressing terrorist acts, he went on. His country was cooperating fully with the international community and regional organizations for the implementation of the relevant international and regional conventions. In March, the National Assembly would consider the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, and the Criminal and Related Matters (Mutual Assistance) Bill. The Prevention of Terrorism Bill took on board all of the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001).
JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), Chairman of the Counter-terrorism Committee, said in concluding remarks that all Committee members were grateful for the support from the membership as a whole. He had found the format of the debate very effective. Transparency was important in the Committee’s work, not as a gesture, but because it was necessary to make the counter-terrorism fight effective. The Committee would continue on that road. The fact that consensus was being built and that there was a global approach to combat terrorism was instrumental in suppressing the horrendous use of violence used in the recent past.
Examining the reports, with the help of the experts, would be an ongoing process, he said. He invited States to attend sessions of the subcommittees so that they could be as familiar as possible with the process. Member States could expect an exchange with the Committee in the course of the coming months.
Many speakers had asked about assistance and orientation, he said. The Committee was putting together a directory to help Member States seek assistance. Money was part of the assistance, but the most important part of assistance was the model and the examples Member States could find in their own region. In that area, the Committee intended to increase its activities, perhaps with additional experts. One could expect more advice from the Committee in the months to come.
Resolution 1373 (2001) had also strongly emphasized financial control. The Committee would liaise with the financial institutions in that regard. The interventions on behalf of regional organizations had been most important. In that regard, the Committee should think of particular points of liaising with regional organizations, perhaps with the help of additional experts. Maximizing the operational capacities of the regions might be the area where the greatest progress could be made. "There is no room for complacency", he said. "We must make sure that cohesion, rather than division, is maximized."
Right of Reply
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) wished to briefly reply to the "unfounded" claims in the statement made by the representative of Israel. It was well known that Israel was the party that had brought terrorism to the Middle East. There was no need to remind Council members of the millions of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, nor of the many, many massacres, let alone the continued Israeli occupation of Arab territories. If that was not terrorism, what was it? he asked.
Syria had assisted and given shelter to some one-half million Palestinian refugees, he said. The representative of Israel had taken pleasure in calling them terrorists. Yet, they had been victims of Israeli terror since 1948.
The members of the international community had confirmed their confidence in Syria, by electing it with a "semi-majority" to the Security Council. Syria had not succeeded in being elected according to the criteria set by Israel for success, which was based on "occupying, killing, terrorism and destruction". He had not believed that Israel was the best to claim to be speaking on behalf of the international community.
Moreover, all of the delegations who spoke today had warmly congratulated Syria on the membership; that was a true cherished confidence and represented answers to the claims made by the representative of Israel. "We definitely deserve that cherished confidence", he added.
Syria was ready, as it had always been, to work with all the countries of the world to fight terrorism and eradicate the scourge. It was ready to do that immediately and without any conditions, he said. There was close cooperation with all countries that asked for it. Its struggle and the resistance of Israeli occupation of Arab occupied territories was a just and legitimate one under the Charter.
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