14 December 2006

Senior Experts Discuss Global Security Issues in Slovakia

VIENNA, 14 December (UN Information Service) -- Representatives of the United Nations, the international security community and international organizations met to discuss the fight against international terrorism in Bratislava, Slovakia today, at GLOBSEC 2006, an international global security conference.

The theme of the conference is "Five years after 9/11: Are we winning the fight against international terrorism?" being held under the auspices of Ján Kubiš, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. It is a follow-up to GLOBSEC 2005, which focussed on the role of the transatlantic partnership in the global security environment.

In her opening remarks, Nasra Hassan, Director, United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, underlined the fact that international terrorism was one of the gravest threats to global security and that the UN has taken a lead role in the struggle against this phenomenon.  In his report Uniting Against Terrorism, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the international community to find a coherent answer to terrorism, by addressing conditions conducive to exploitation by terrorists, denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack and deterring States from supporting terrorist groups. His recommendations had culminated in a resolution on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted by consensus in the General Assembly in September 2006. She also referred to the hidden terror created by lack of human security, an essential aspect of security. Ms. Hassan quoted from the last statement made by Kofi Annan as UN Secretary-General, in which he said "we all share responsibility for each other's security, and only by working to make each other secure can we hope to achieve lasting security for ourselves." As part of the UN's efforts, UNIS Vienna is co-sponsoring GLOBSEC 2006, which brought together key experts today; Ms. Hassan paid tribute to Slovakia, which is playing a key role as member of the UN Security Council 2006-2007, and to the initiative of brilliant young university students who have created the Euro-Atlantic Center (EAC), calling them a model for European youth. EAC is an important partner in UNIS Vienna programmes.   

In his opening address, Jaroslav Baška, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Slovakia highlighted the role played by Slovakia in the fight against terrorism. "Ultimately, security is the oxygen of democracy and prosperity. Only a secure environment allows for economic development and the creation of viable political systems that involve rather than isolate citizens. Such stable states can then take care of their internal problems including terrorism themselves and emerge in the fight against terrorism as a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem", he said.

Through panel and open floor discussions, GLOBSEC 2006 aims at evaluating the measures undertaken by the countries of the Euro-Atlantic area in the struggle against terrorism through focusing on issues such as mapping the phenomena: international terrorism today and tomorrow; NATO and the fight against international terrorism: a changing alliance; and, Slovakia and terrorism: towards a balance between panic and preparedness.  The conference is being attended by high-ranking members of the international security community and international organizations, including NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations, Adam Kobieracki (who delivered a keynote address on Undermining Terrorism: NATO's Role in the Fight Against Terrorism); Permanent Representative of Slovakia to NATO, Igor Slobodnik; Director, Senior Executive Seminar, College of International and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Jean-Paul Raffenne; Head of the Inter ethnic Relations Issues Group, Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow, Sergey Markedonov; and Fernando Reinares, Senior Analyst on International Terrorism at the Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies in Madrid.  

 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Project Head on Global Terrorism, Walter Gehr spoke on UN action immediately after 9/11, when the UN sent a strong political signal by adopting the world's counter-terrorism code in the form of resolution 1373 (2001).  He elaborated on the UN's Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which emphasizes the importance of educating the youth against extremism and intolerance, the need for creative thinking on how to respond to incitement to terrorism which appears on the Internet in chat-rooms and blogs, and pointed out that though there is still no agreement internationally on the root causes of terrorism, there is very strong consensus that terrorism as a method of political struggle needs to be outlawed and treated as a crime.  He explained UNODC's role in helping Governments to translate this consensus into criminal codes and criminal justice systems at the national level.  Mr. Gehr concluded that unfortunately, the ideological and religious struggle underlying terrorist movements could deepen, making new terrorist attacks more likely; terrorists could then resort to weapons of mass destruction.

The GLOBSEC 2006 conference is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia in Bratislava. The conference is being organized by the non-governmental organization Euro-Atlantic Center and the Slovak Atlantic Commission, with the support of the UN Information Service (UNIS) Vienna and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Public Diplomacy Division.

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For further information, contact:

Jaya Mohan
Information Officer, UNIS
Mobile: ++ 43 6991 459 4448
Email: jaya.mohan@unvienna.org