4 April 2005

Secretary-General Says Nuclear Terrorism Convention Adds Building Block to Global Anti-Terrorism Strategy, in Remarks to Ad Hoc Committee

NEW YORK, 1 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following are UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks to the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 on the adoption of a draft International Convention on Nuclear Terrorism, in New York, 1 April:

I would like to congratulate you on the adoption of the draft International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

It has been more than seven years since the Russian Federation first proposed such an instrument.  Your committee faced real difficulties in forging an agreement.  Yet you persevered, and concluded your negotiations, thereby setting the stage for adoption by the full General Assembly.  Your efforts are helping the world to become a safer place.

The Nuclear Terrorism Convention will help prevent terrorist groups from gaining access to the most lethal weapons known to man.  It will strengthen the international legal framework against terrorism, which includes 12 existing universal conventions and protocols. The Convention will encourage cooperation among States, which is crucial in defeating terrorism. And it adds another building block to the five-part global strategy for fighting terrorism that I set out earlier this month in Madrid.  Indeed, the conclusion of this Convention is one of the key recommendations contained in my recent report, “In Larger Freedom”. 

I call on all States to become parties to the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and to all other universal counter-terrorism instruments.

I also urge you to finalize yet another important legal instrument, the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  I remain confident that you will be able to complete that work before the end of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, and wish you all success in that work.

Nuclear terrorism is one of the most urgent threats of our time.  Even one such attack could inflict mass casualties and change our world forever.  That prospect should compel all of us to do our part to strengthen our common defences. I am glad to say that you have risen to that challenge.  Congratulations again on this achievement, which advances the rule of law and contributes to the maintenance of international peace and security.

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