Press Releases

    1 February 2002


    Completion of Convention on Nuclear Terrorism
    Also Blocked by Disagreement on Treaty’s Scope

    NEW YORK, 31 January (UN Headquarters) -- Completion of a comprehensive international treaty on terrorism, to fill in many of the gaps left by the other sectoral treaties on terrorism, hinged upon elusive agreement on an article covering who would be entitled to exclusion from the treaty’s scope, the coordinator of negotiations among delegates told the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism this morning.

    Richard Rowe (Australia) who has been presiding over informal consultations on the treaty, said the few other outstanding matters on the treaty would fall into place if divergent views could be reconciled on wording concerning acts of "armed forces" or "parties" to a conflict, and on inclusion of a reference to foreign occupation. Also at issue in the same article 18 –- on the treaty’s scope of application -- was whether the activities of military forces in exercise of their official duties should be "governed" by international law or "in conformity" with it.

    The majority of the treaty’s 27 articles were preliminarily agreed upon at the Committee’s last two sessions. In addition to article 18, still outstanding are the preamble, article 1 on a definition of phrases in the draft convention, and article 2 on a definition of terrorism. Mr. Rowe reported that some progress had been made on the preamble and article 1 but final positions would depend on the outcome of article 18.

    Mr. Rowe also informed the Committee on the status of consultations concerning another treaty on its agenda —- the draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. Again, the stumbling block was the treaty’s scope. He said delegates’ different positions on the matter were well known and while some supported continuing negotiations, others thought it might be time to reflect on alternative approaches.

    The Committee’s formal title is the Ad Hoc Committee Established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, and it was given a mandate to harmonize legal structures for combating international terrorism. So far it has led to the adoption of two previous treaties: one on terrorist bombings and the other on suppression of financing of terrorist activities.

    In addition to its deliberations on a comprehensive terrorist convention and a convention on nuclear terrorism, the Committee also keeps on its agenda the possibility of convening a high-level United Nations conference on terrorism.

    The Committee, whose week-long sixth session ends tomorrow, will meet again in plenary tomorrow, Friday, 1 February, at 10 a.m. to consider its report.

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