Press Releases

    11 March 2004

    United Nations-OSCE Counter-Terrorism Conference Begins with a Minute of Silence for Madrid Victims

    Two-day Conference in Vienna Charts Future joint Aactivities

    VIENNA, 11 March 2004 -- A counter-terrorism conference organized by the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, began today with a minute of silence in honour of the victims of terrorist bomb attacks in Madrid earlier in the day.

    Ambassador Jan Kubiš, Secretary-General, OSCE, expressed his horror at the loss of innocent lives on behalf of all the participants at the third global meeting of international, regional and sub-regional organizations to strengthen counter-terrorism action.

    Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said there is strong evidence of a close link between terrorism and organized crime, including trafficking in drugs, firearms and human beings, as well as money-laundering.

    “These crimes both precede and accompany terrorist crimes since terrorist groups operate in the same black markets where organized crime is active. We can weaken terrorist groups by going forcefully after their profit-oriented activities,” Mr. Costa said, pointing to a need to survey and monitor the multiple relations between terrorism and profit-driven transnational crimes.

    United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Chairman, Ambassador Inocencio Arias (Spain), opened the session by calling for improvements in the way international organizations co-ordinate and collaborate in countering global terrorism. Ambassador Arias pointed to the collaboration between the OSCE and the UNODC as an example for other organizations to adopt.

    The two-day conference is looking at ways to strengthen the joint efforts of international organizations in their global actions against terrorism. Concrete suggestions will be made on planning, co-ordination and the execution of future joint activities, and towards strengthening the exchange of information.

    OSCE Secretary General Kubiš said that focused, expert, technical anti-terrorism workshops such as those recently organized by the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit were yielding concrete results. He joined other organizations represented at the conference in supporting the leadership of the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee to ensure cohesion in the collective actions of international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

    Under the leadership of the OSCE, the first part of the conference today was addressing current and emerging threats, with two working sessions focusing on the threat posed to civil aviation by Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) and on the need to break the nexus between terrorism and organized crime.

    The second day of the conference on Friday will focus on four areas: preventing the financing of terrorism; ratification and implementation of 12 universal anti-terrorism instruments; border management issues; and, co-ordination between international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

    Ambassador Arias and conference co-hosts, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa and OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubiš, will provide a readout of conference proceedings and results at a press conference tomorrow at 11:30 at the Vienna International Centre.

    For further information:

    Kemal Kurspahic, Spokesman UNODC: +43-1-26060-5629, fax: +43-1-26060-5875, or

    Richard Murphy, Spokesperson OSCE
    tel: +43-1-514 36 180, fax: +43-1-514 36 105 or e-mail:

    Jaya Mohan, Associate Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
    tel: +43-1-26060-4448 or e-mail: