Press Releases

    24 October 2005

    As Efforts to Resolve Causes of Delay Continue, Adoption of Overall Anti-Terrorism Text Is Said to Be Attainable Goal

    With Further Discussion on Difficult Issues, Legal Committee Is Told, Comprehensive Convention May Be Finalized During Current Session

    NEW YORK, 21 October (UN Headquarters) -- Negotiations on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism are to continue in a final push for a text to be adopted during the current General Assembly session, the Sixth Committee (Legal) decided this morning.

    ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Committee's Working Group on Terrorism, said informal consultations had revealed a genuine desire among delegations to remain engaged in open and constructive dialogue on the difficult questions that had delayed finalization of the draft comprehensive convention.  Some delegations had asked for more time for their Governments to consider two proposals which had recently been submitted.  The Chairman said that if gains made in the past few days could be consolidated, the Sixth Committee might be able to adopt a draft comprehensive convention at the current session.

    In welcoming the offer by Mr. Perera to continue consultations, the Chairman of the Sixth Committee, Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo, said he, too, believed finalization of the comprehensive convention was an attainable goal and said the coming days would be critical in achieving that common objective. 

    Also this morning, two draft resolutions related to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) were introduced.  They are expected to be acted upon on the Committee next week.

    The Committee will meet again on Monday, 24 October, at 10 a.m. to begin consideration of the Report of the International Law Commission.

    Introduction of Draft

    KONRAD GEORG BÜHLER (Austria) introduced the draft resolution on the Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its thirty-eighth session (document A/C.6/60/L.7).

    The second UNCITRAL draft, "United Nations convention on the use of electronic communications in international contracts." (A/C.60/60/L.8) was introduced by the Sixth Committee Chairman, JUAN ANTONIO YANEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain).  He said that although the Commission had recommended that the convention be open for signature for two years after its adoption by the General Assembly, the Bureau of the Sixth Committee had proposed that the new instrument be open for signature, for a period of two years, a few weeks after its adoption to allow sufficient time for the preparation of the original of the convention.  The Secretariat would append the dates for opening for signature in article 15 and the relevant date in the testimonium in the text of the draft convention to be issued in the Sixth Committee's report. 

    The new instrument, the text of which is attached to the draft resolution, has 25 articles and is intended to remove obstacles to the use of electronic communication in international contracting, including those that might arise under existing international trade law regimes.  According to UNCITRAL, most of those texts were negotiated long before the development of new technology, such as e-mail, electronic data interchange and the internet.

    Introducing the report of the Working Group on Terrorism, Mr. Perera said two "non-papers", on draft article 18 and the preamble, were submitted.  Annexed to the report was an informal summary of the discussions on the draft articles. 

    One proposed addition to article 18 states that nothing in the Convention would make acts unlawful which were governed by international humanitarian law and not unlawful under that law.  The other non-paper proposes a preambular paragraph that reaffirms the right to self-determination of peoples in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Declaration of Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, in accordance with the Charter.  The proposed article 18 would mean that those acts not in conformity with international humanitarian law, such as deliberate attacks on civilians, would be within the scope of the convention.

    Negotiations had reached a stage where the aim should be to bridge the gap among the various well-known positions of delegations, Mr. Perera said.

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