20 October 2004
Head of UN Counter-Terrorism Body Visits Vienna to Coordinate UN Anti-Terrorism Efforts
VIENNA, 20 October (UN Information Service) -- Strengthening and better coordination of the United Nations work in combating international terrorism was the key focus of discussions between the Head of the Security Councils Counter-terrorism body and the head of the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) during their meeting in Vienna today. Javier Rupérez, the Executive Director of the Security Councils Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of UNODC, agreed that international terrorism was one of the major threats to international peace and security and that the United Nations can and must play a central role against that threat.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) draws its mandate from Security Council resolution 1373 -- adopted in the wake of 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States -- which calls on countries to take effective measures against international terrorism and to report on those measures regularly to the Council. The resolution, through the CTC, was intended to upgrade Member States capabilities to deny space, money, support and safe-haven to terrorist groups and to establish a network of information sharing and a cooperative platform for action. The CTC operates a multistage programme. In the first stage it reviews existing legislative and executive measures in Member States to combat terrorism. The second stage focuses on institutional mechanisms and assistance.
In order to enhance the Security Councils ability to assist Member States, the Council decided to strengthen and re-vitalize the CTC in March this year. Council resolution 1535 created a new body, the CTED, to assist the CTC in better executing and coordinating its work. While the CTC has been active in promoting the ratification of the 12 existing international conventions dealing with particular aspects of terrorism, and encouraging countries to take measures against terrorism, the new CTED has been created to take a more active role in working with countries to ensure that they are in fact effectively implementing the various anti-terrorism measures they have signed on to.
It is in the field of actively assisting countries in implementing anti-terrorism measures that the Vienna-based UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) and CTED work closely together. The TPB has been one of the key technical assistance providers to those Member States, which the CTC views as in need of assistance in drafting anti-terrorism legislature. TPB also helps countries in the ratification and implementation process of various anti-terrorism measures. In this regard, in the past two years, direct legislative drafting assistance was provided to over 50 countries, while additional 45 countries were reached through sub-regional and regional initiatives, thus over 600 law-makers, law enforcement and other officials were familiarized with the requirements of Security Council resolution 1373.
As part of the UNODC, TPB is well positioned to tie in the anti-terrorist assistance work with a broader approach of also looking at the nexus between terrorism, crime and drugs. This allows for more comprehensive efforts of countering terrorism through the wider promotion of international cooperation and the rule of law.
The first visit of Executive Director Rupérez to Vienna focused on solidifying the existing cooperative arrangements between CTC and TPB as well as looking at ways and means to further enhance coordination efforts with other relevant international and regional organizations. Mr. Rupérez outlined the future division of labour as being for CTC/CTED to evaluate countries needs for technical assistance, request TPB expertise and for TPB to respond by providing the required assistance. He sees the CTED as becoming the centre of reference, or the main engine in the UN system for counter-terrorism initiatives.
These and other issues were discussed at a briefing Mr. Rupérez had with Permanent Missions in Vienna. He also had an opportunity to meet with the press during his visit at UNODC.
During his visit to Vienna, Mr. Rupérez will also meet with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 21 October. The meetings are part of his wider efforts to enhance cooperation and collaboration with international, regional and specialized organizations.
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