02/10/2001
Press Release
GA/9923



Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

15th Meeting (PM)


TERRORISM REQUIRES RESPONSE FOUNDED ON INCLUSION, FAIRNESS, LEGITIMACY,

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD, AS DEBATE CONTINUES


Sustainability of Struggle against Terrorism

Rests on Application of Single Set of Standards to All


There was a vital need for a rational and far-reaching response to the recent terrorist acts focusing not only on the 11 September attacks, but also on terrorism, in general, and, more importantly, on its root causes of injustice and exclusion, Deputy Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of Iran stressed to the General Assembly this afternoon.


As the Assembly continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, Mr. Zarif said that, as a global menace, terrorism required a global response founded on inclusion, fairness and international legitimacy, not one of indiscriminate retribution.  Terrorists should not be allowed to set the agenda or dictate the response, he added, stating that the legitimacy and sustainability of the struggle against terrorism rested on the application of a single set of standards to all.


The Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Lauro L. Baja, stressed the need for an inter-faith dialogue to broaden and promote Christian-Muslim solidarity, noting that terrorists wished to instigate a religious war. Islam was a religion of peace, forbearance and tolerance, and the terrorists who posed as Muslims had been denounced by true Muslims as traitors to the teachings of the Koran, he added.


The representative of Germany added said that what the world was confronted with was not, and must not be perceived as, a “clash of civilizations”.  What the world was confronted with was the terrorists’ clash with civilization.


Saudi Arabia's representative, emphasizing that Arab governments and peoples condemned terrorism in all its shapes and forms, said it was necessary, nevertheless, to distinguish between terrorism, on the one hand, and the right of peoples to defend their independence, freedom and human rights when subjected to foreign occupation and domination.  The general condemnation of terrorism extended to State terrorism as practised by Israel.


Oman's representative expressed the hope that support for the anti-terrorism campaign would not prevent efforts to seek a final solution to the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Among many other representatives, Petko Draganov, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, spoke out against direct and indirect financing of terrorist networks and their link to organized crime.  Funding lay at the heart of the problem of terrorism, he said.  In order to prevent terrorism, the international community needed to engage in daily cooperation to dry out terrorist financial sources.


The representative of Cyprus echoed this sentiment, as he told the Assembly that fighting terrorism required the constant vigilance of all countries, so that their financial institutions would not be abused by terrorist networks.  He added that terrorist funding was often connected with international criminal cartels involved in the drug trade and trafficking of arms.


The representatives of Bhutan, Uruguay, Lesotho, Australia, Sri Lanka, Austria, Mauritania, New Zealand, Djibouti and Gabon also spoke this afternoon.


The Assembly will meet again tomorrow, Wednesday, 3 October, at 10 a.m. to continue its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.


Background


The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.


For more background information, see Press Release GA/9919 of 1 October.


Statements


OM PRADHAN (Bhutan) said that it was gratifying that in these most trying times, UN Member States were coming together and mobilizing efforts in the fight against terrorism.  While the international legal framework was being established and built upon, cooperation in intelligence, intensification of intelligence gathering, sharing and analyzing information, and timely and preemptive action would go a long way in preventing terrorist acts.  Then there was the long-term war against terrorism.  One of the major fronts in that war would be the fight against extreme beliefs and organizations that justified their violence and killings on the basis of political, and unfortunately, on distorted religious grounds.


He expressed concern regarding the beliefs and mindsets that engaged in terrorist acts leading to the death and destruction of innocent lives and the peaceful functioning of the economic, social, cultural and political fabric of societies.  The investigations carried out thus far by the United States and other countries and organizations, revealed how deep the tentacles of terror had spread around the world.  Its strength and reach, and more surprisingly, the human beings who were willing to indulge in such activities and sacrifice their own lives, seemed to be growing by the day.  This was due to the inculcation of extremist beliefs through the brainwashing of minds.  Alarmed to have heard about the so-called "training camps" in Afghanistan and other countries, he questioned how such inhumanity was possible.


Bhutan had faced its own share of terrorism, he said.  Despite limited resources, Bhutan had taken a firm stand against such activities.  The country had an adequate legal framework to deal with those that committed such crimes, and was increasing its capabilities to fight against this menace.  Above all, the entire Bhutanese people, irrespective of ethnic or religious origin or background, had joined hands to fight against this scourge.


SOTIRIOS ZACKHEOS (Cyprus) said to attack and contain the multifaceted phenomenon of terrorism required a long and sustained effort at the national, regional and international level and must be addressed through a global and multilateral approach.  The primary responsibility of the fight lay with the United Nations.  The fight could not be allowed to fall victim to politicization and ephemeral considerations.  He rejected any tendency to equate terrorism with the Arab or Muslim world.


He shared the view of the European Union on the necessity of a global mobilization against terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations.  He also agreed with the Union on the need for the international community to work in tandem to prevent and solve regional conflicts, such as the situation in the Middle East and Cyprus.  The solution of the Cyprus problem would restore stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, usher in a new era of Greco-Turkish relations and thus strengthen the anti-terrorist struggle, he said.

One of the international community's major tasks in fighting terrorism was related to financing of terrorism, he said.  That task required the constant vigilance of all countries, so that their financial institutions would not be allowed to be used by terrorist networks, which were often connected with international criminal cartels involved in the drug trade and trafficking of arms.  His country, being cognizant of the dangers associated with its status as a major regional financial centre, had for many years been actively engaged in establishing a strong anti money laundering regime.  The International Monetary Fund had commented positively on the situation in Cyprus.


FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said the international community had under-estimated the power of terrorists to infiltrate borders and cities, and the hatred which led those terrorists to commit homicidal acts without limits.  On 11 September, the international community was shattered to discover the depths of terrorist degradation.  It must now act to eradicate terror from the earth and prevent the horror of that Tuesday from happening again.


Resolutions already adopted in the United Nations were part of the response to those terrorist acts, he said, but the Organization must do more.  Among other things, Member States must ratify or adhere to existing conventions, promote strict compliance with those conventions and work on instruments currently being negotiated.  It should consider the possibility of negotiating a convention to declare that knowledge or tolerance by any Governments of terrorism, or terrorist activities on their territories, should be considered an international crime.


Member States should establish mechanisms for identifying, detaining and prosecuting terrorists, he stressed.  They should also consider more severe penalties for acts of terrorism and simplify procedures to extradite those accused of terrorist acts.  They should establish a unit within the United Nations responsible for receiving, centralizing and disseminating information on terrorism.  The Organization should oblige States to transmit all information on terrorists and their activities, as well as measures taken to prevent those activities.  In implementing such measures, the international community must remember that Governments were responsible for protecting people from terrorism, and they should begin now to put an early end to terror.


JAVAD ZARIF, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, noting that emotion and anger were only human, stressed the need for a great deal of collective reflection and wisdom for a rational and far-reaching response.  That should focus not only on the recent horrific crime, but on terrorism in general, and more importantly, on the root causes of injustice and exclusion that could be exploited by demagogues to inflict harm on innocent human beings.


As a global menace, terrorism required a global response founded on inclusion, fairness and international legitimacy.  As a tragedy caused by blind hatred, the response could not be indiscriminate retribution.  Terrorists should not be allowed to set the agenda or dictate the response.  Everyone who was serious about fighting terrorism, especially those in a position of global power, would be well advised not to resort to statements and policies emanating from emotions intertwined with the arrogance of power, which could only entrench further the mentality that produced terrorism.


Emphasizing that Iran was fully prepared to contribute actively to a United Nations-led global campaign against terrorism, he said the legitimacy and sustainability of the struggle rested on the application of a single set of standards to all.  It was not acceptable that patterns of alliance, rather than actual engagement in terrorist activities, should become the determining factor.  The credibility of the campaign against terrorism was seriously undermined when policies and practices designed to instill terror among the entire Palestinian people were received with acquiescing silence, while resistance to foreign occupation and state terrorism was conveniently demonized.


Underscoring that terrorism had no religion, nationality or ethnic background, he said attempts to attribute the recent acts of terror to even a misguided interpretation of Islam were not only dangerous, but utterly erroneous.  It was a source of deep concern that the events of 11 September had given rise to a new wave of Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslims and Arabs.  The recent events should not be used to further stimulate chronic cultural and political misconceptions, stereotypes and prejudices.  Furthermore, abuse of the catastrophe, exemplified by portraying an artificial clash between Islam and the West, and Israel’s increasing suppression of the Palestinian people, would only exacerbate its bitter and inhuman dimensions.


       PERCY MANGOAELA (Lesotho) called for strengthening the international rule of law to counter terrorism so that all who were involved in those acts could be held accountable.  Since criminal acts of terror did not respect boundaries, enforcement of criminal law against them could not just be the exclusive competence of States.  The soon-to-be-established International Criminal Court would be able to prosecute the kind of crime against humanity that had been carried out three weeks ago.


He said terrorist groups had made it clear that they would stop at nothing to win attention through atrocity, he said.  Since terrorist groups had no visible economy, land area or identified population, it was difficult to trace their covert networks and police their false documents or trans-shipments through bogus companies.  Raising public awareness of the nature and scope of international terrorism and its relationship to organized crime was the international community’s urgent priority.


It was imperative to finalize the international convention for suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, he stated.  Also, all international instruments on terrorism should be finalized with a view to closing existing gaps and loopholes so that law enforcement agencies could effectively cooperate and enable national courts to investigate and prosecute crimes.  Negotiations on a draft comprehensive convention on terrorism should also be finalized and submitted to the Assembly for adoption.  Finally, it had become urgent to finalize the question of convening a high level conference under the auspices of the United Nations so that a joint organized response of the international community could be formulated to address the question of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  The Sixth Committee (Legal) should finalize that matter at the current session and submit its recommendations to the Assembly.


       However, he stressed, the logic of terrorism was that the end justified the means.  That must not hold true in the fight against terrorism.  As strategies for an effective response to terrorism were refined, care must be taken not to violate human rights and international law.  The distinction must be preserved between the guilty and the innocent, between perpetrators and civilians, between those who committed atrocities and those who simply shared their religious beliefs, ethnicity or national origin.  The way to deny perpetrators of terrorism their ultimate victory was to strengthen democracy and uphold the values and principles they sought to destroy. 


JOHN DAUTH (Australia) described the attacks and the catastrophic loss of life, injury and destruction as utterly repugnant and inhumane.  They could never be justified and must never be repeated.  The United Nations had a critical role to play in ensuring cooperation among all Member States in taking the necessary steps to combat international terrorism.


Australia supported fully the measures and strategies outlined in Security Council resolutions 1368 and 1373, he said, and urged all States to take immediate steps to comply with them.  The Prime Minister had announced last week measures to freeze the financial assets of terrorists and terrorist groups, and Australia was now examining further measures to give full effect to resolution 1373.


He said that effective implementation and enforcement of United Nations-sponsored anti-terrorist conventions would create a formidable international legal regime that would starve terrorists of funds and ensure that those involved in terrorist activities were swiftly brought to justice.  All States must work relentlessly to ensure that the conventions had a real and abiding impact.


Australia was party to nine of the 12 conventions and was taking steps to become a party to the remaining conventions as a matter of priority, he said.  The existing framework of subject-specific conventions could, however, be strengthened by the conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism to supplement the existing conventions.  Negotiations on the comprehensive convention against terrorism should therefore be concluded without delay.


DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) said Germany would adopt all necessary measures, at the national, European and international levels, to combat terrorism.  This would include amending criminal laws, optimizing the safety of air traffic both on the ground and in the air, and seeking out and disrupting the financial structures of terrorists.  The German police continued to work, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to dismantle a terrorist network, which had established footholds in Germany, in other European countries and in the United States.  German intelligence services had done a good job thus far and had brought about the arrest of Osama bin Laden’s former finance chief.


The struggle against terrorism was a defense of open and free societies and would be conducted with full respect for the rule of law, he said.  Terrorism would not stop Germany from passing a modern immigration law, aimed at the integration of foreigners.  He added that Germany was aware, as much as other countries were, that now was the time for decent people to unite against hate and violence, regardless of their origins, their race or their creed.  What the world was confronted with was not, and must not be perceived as, a "clash of civilizations".  What the world was confronted with was the terrorists’ clash with civilization.


More than ever, the United Nations was called upon to uphold the values of tolerance, dignity and social justice, through concrete action and through the promotion of a dialogue among and within civilizations and the plight of those who suffered from terrorism.  This included the people of Afghanistan, he said.  The Afghan people must know that the entire world would assist them in building a better, more humane and more prosperous future, once they will have escaped the vicious circle of oppression and misery.  He invited the Assembly to work on this issue through the General Assembly’s plenary resolution on “the emergency international assistance for people, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan and the situation of Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security." 


LAKSHMAN KADIRGAMAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, said that terrorism was no stranger to Sri Lanka.  Sri Lankans knew the horrific direct consequences of terrorism and the countless personal tragedies that it left in its wake as well as the larger disruptions of national stability and order. 

A principle objective must be to eliminate the financial systems on which terrorism depended.  That required a complex, difficult, multifaceted and long global undertaking.  Recalling his statement to the Millennium Assembly, he said revenues to support terrorism came not only from the customary illegal trade in drugs or arms and other merchandise, including the smuggling of humans, but from a more abundant and limitless reservoir of funds from expatriates of similar ethnicity settled abroad.  To implement adequately the Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, a study on the collection of external funds for massive continuous armed rebellion against a State should be undertaken by the appropriate United Nations bodies.


If international terrorism was to be eradicated, he said, it must be recognized as global criminality which required a global governmental and  non-governmental endeavour to combat it, complete with numerous bilateral, subregional, interregional and global arrangements.  He noted that largely as a result of United Nations leadership, the issue of human rights had received high national and international attention.  The same kind of attention should be turned to the eradication of terrorism.  An act of terrorism by a non-governmental entity against civilians was a heinous violation of human rights and a crime against humanity as well.  The principal focus of a global endeavour against terrorism should be the interdiction of terrorism's lifeblood:  the provision of millions of dollars that might be used to further terrorism's purposes.  It was morally  unacceptable that funds should flow from territories under the jurisdiction of one State for the slaughter of innocents in another.


He went on to say that negotiations on international conventions, often concluding after lengthy sessions to produce lowest common denominator provisions characterized by "constructive ambiguity", had not been as effective as they should have been.  They might salve consciences but they contained loopholes through which millions of dollars could pass in questionable transactions.  He hoped that things would change for the better now.  Sri Lanka, a party to all the major United Nations conventions relating to terrorism, would continue to urge the widest possible participation in the international conventions on terrorism that had already been formulated under the auspices of the United Nations.


PETKO DRAGANOV, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, said the attack of 11 September had been an attack against all of humanity.  All of humanity therefore had to stand up and unite against this unprecedented challenge.  The attack had been a deliberate attack on the values shared by the members of the United Nations, he added.  It was essential that the United Nations respond adequately, through effective and legitimate mechanisms and procedures, to prevent and punish terrorist acts.  Bulgaria firmly believed that terrorism was inadmissible in all its forms and manifestations.

He stressed that the commitment of States and governments to act firmly against terrorism must be at the heart of the effort against it.  The United Nations had a unique place in this fight.  Bulgaria condemned all forms of terrorism.  There was no such thing as political, religious, ethnic or social excuses for terrorism.


He reaffirmed Bulgaria’s interest and support for joint international efforts.  The recent attacks had targeted one country, but had wounded the world.


Bulgaria was satisfied by the swift adoption of Security Council resolution 1368, in the aftermath of the attack, and resolution 1373 a few days ago, which forcefully confirmed the spirit of previous resolutions.  Resolution 1373 had spoken out against the financing of terrorism; money and funding were “at the heart of this war”, he said.  It was of critical importance to dry the financial sources of terrorist networks.  This would require international cooperation on a daily basis.


LAURO L. BAJA, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said international terrorism was an unacceptable aberration in the political framework of global cooperation, thwarting the aspiration of the international community to achieve peace, harmony, equality and charity.  The irony was not lost that the attacks came when the United Nations was observing the International Day of Peace.


He said his country would joint the international counter-terrorism coalition and work closely with the United Nations and other members of the coalition on intelligence and security matters concerning terrorism.  If required, it would make its airspace and other facilities available as transit or staging points and, if asked, provide combat troops to the coalition.  The Philippines would prevent the flow of funds to terrorist groups, by implementing an efficient and effective anti money laundering law.


He said, the United Nations should begin seriously at the highest political level to explore a global strategy that would effectively deal with the problem.  The conditions that spawned and permitted the growth of terrorism and hatred needed to be addressed.  The terrorists who posed as Muslims had been denounced by true Muslims as traitors to the teachings of the Koran.  Islam was a religion of peace, forbearance and tolerance.  Inter-faith dialogues must be broadened to promote Christian and Muslim solidarity, he said.


GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria) offered his deepest sympathies to the victims of the terrorist attack on 11 September and their families, noting that it was one of the darkest days in world history.  Those events in the United States had brought terrorism to the top of the international agenda.  As the world had turned to the United Nations for guidance and leadership in seeking effective, long-term global solutions, Security Council resolution 1373 had demonstrated clearly the unity, solidarity and determination of the Organization to fight terrorism.


Essential measures in responding globally to terrorism included immediately implementing resolution 1373; signing, ratifying and implementing existing conventions against terrorism; and redoubling efforts to find consensus on the Indian-sponsored project of a comprehensive convention against terrorism.  The United Nations must also pay special attention to the broader aspects of terrorism, particularly its root causes, and contribute to a frank dialogue between and within civilizations.

Only one week before the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at the United Nations Office in Vienna had adopted a plan for action to implement the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice.  The Declaration’s mandate to the Centre for International Crime Prevention included raising public awareness of international terrorism and its relationship to crime, maintaining existing databases on terrorism, and supporting Member States by collecting and disseminating information on the relationship between terrorism and related criminal activities.  Those action plans could serve as a solid basis to enhance the ability of the United Nations to prevent terrorism, he said.  But the Centre’s personal and financial resources would need to be strengthened significantly, if it were to provide immediate assistance to States.  Taking into account the urgency of focused United Nations action, Austria would make a substantial contribution to assist States in implementing conventions against terrorism.


MAHFOUDH OULD DEDDACH (Mauritania) said the hateful crimes committed in the United States had been justly condemned unanimously by the entire international community.  The Government and people of Mauritania had been shocked by the atrocities, which nothing could possibly justify, and immediately had condemned the barbarous acts.


He said the Government of Mauritania supported, fully and without any reservations whatsoever, Security Council resolutions 1368 and 1373 of 28 September 2001 and endorsed the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 12 September condemning the terrorist attacks against the United States.  The Mauritanian Government was committed to implement the provisions of Council resolution 1373, which was fully in accord with the Government’s desire to see the international community take concerted and resolute action to effectively fight terrorism.


The Government of Mauritania had been actively involved in all regional and international initiatives aimed at concerted action against the phenomenon of terrorism, he said.  To that end, the Government had already taken steps to sign and ratify various international legal instruments aimed at combating and suppressing international terrorism.


DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said his country was convinced that international legal instruments were key elements in combating international terrorism.  The existing 12 international treaties provided a strong framework for action and cooperation at the national and international levels.  All States should accede to them as a matter of priority.  New Zealand was attempting to fast-track domestic processes for becoming a party to the Terrorist Bombing Convention and for ratifying the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism in response to the events of 11 September.


Possible gaps remained in that international framework, however, he said, an example being the threshold for what was an "international" terrorist act.  There were also questions, possibly, about how far the Conventions extended to attacks on private facilities.  His Government believed there was scope for more robust mechanisms for cooperation on the detection, prevention and investigation of terrorist acts that was found in some of the earlier conventions.  There was an urgent need for a comprehensive terrorism convention to cover the gaps in existing instruments without undermining or weakening them.


International agreements must be rigorously enforced, and terrorists deprived of training, funding, support and shelter, he said.  States that assisted or even knowingly tolerated the presence of international terrorists on their soil would have to face the consequences.  The United Nations could contribute to the fight against terrorism in many practical ways, including addressing the underlying causes of injustice that gave rise to the killing of civilians all over the world.


The contribution of the United Nations could also involve information exchange and technical advice in best practice methods and technologies for combating terrorism.  The battle against terrorism must be fought on many fronts, such as halting the illicit trade in narcotics and small arms, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  He announced that his Government had decided to provide one million New Zealand dollars to the United Nations Consolidated Appeal for Afghanistan.


FAWZI SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said condemnation of the criminal acts was not limited to the official authorities, but included all segments of Saudi society.  The Kingdom considered it anathema for Muslims to commit such deeds or to protect such criminals.


While denouncing the attacks, he emphasized the need to avoid linking terrorist acts with any particular religion or ethnic group.  Such linkage would not help in effectively combating terrorism and was an affront to truth.  Saudi Arabia was concerned by the attempts of some news media and politicians to arbitrarily accuse Islam and Muslims.  Saudi Arabia was also deeply concerned about widespread discrimination in some societies against Islamic beliefs.


He said Saudi Arabia had suffered from terrorist attacks in the past and had exerted all efforts to combat the phenomenon.  On the national level, it had enacted laws to punish perpetrators of terrorist acts -- combating terrorism had become a principal subject in college curricula.  On the regional level, Saudi Arabia had been among the first signatories of the Arab Convention for Combating Terrorism, adopted by the League of Arab States in 1998.  On the international level, the Kingdom adhered to numerous United Nations conventions on terrorism.  It was about to join the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism.


The Arab governments and peoples condemned terrorism in all its shapes and forms, he emphasized.  Nevertheless, it was necessary to distinguish between terrorism on the one hand and the right of peoples to defend their independence, freedom and human rights when subjected to foreign occupation and domination.  The general condemnation of terrorism extended to state terrorism as practised continuously by Israel.  General Assembly resolution 40/61 made a clear distinction between terrorism -- a criminal act -- and armed resistance to colonialism, racism and foreign occupation -- a legitimate struggle sustained by the principle of self-determination.


FUAD BIN MUBARAK AL-HINAI (Oman) said he wished to express his full solidarity with the United States, believing that justice would be served upon those who committed the terrorist acts.  The international community should undoubtedly stand with the United States to preserve the peace and security of all people in the world in a more transparent manner.


Efforts to combat terrorism would not meet success except through the commitment of all countries to the principles and rules of international law and to the Charter of the United Nations.  It required monitoring the implementation of all rules of relevant international conventions.  It was important not to confuse terrorist activities with the right of people to their struggle against occupation and the protection of their land.


He said that while he supported efforts to combat terrorism, the international community should continue efforts to find final and decisive solutions to a number of chronic issues.  At the forefront of those issues was the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict.  He referred to the “tension witnessed at the Palestinian level in the escalation of violence mounted by the Israeli forces ... taking advantage of the concern of the international community by what is developing currently on the world stage.”  An international conference on terrorism was of the utmost importance.


ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said the action of the Security Council last Friday, and the decision by the General Assembly to hold this crucial meeting, clearly underscored the emerging international determination and solidarity to fight terrorism.  What happened on 11 September, he said, was a mass murder against innocent people of all nationalities, faiths and walks of life.  There was still a state of shock and disbelief.  The sheer heroism, selflessness and tireless effort by so many, including average New Yorkers and Washingtonians, desperately seeking to save those caught in the maelstrom, would forever be an inspiring memory in the hearts of mankind.


He said the people of Afghanistan were once again gripped by desperation and fear.  A major disaster was shaping up.  Millions of refugees were leaving the country, in fear of attacks, and millions were facing starvation inside the country.  Given the extent of the looming crisis, with the impending strikes, severe food shortage, removal of international aid workers and the closure of the borders by all the neighbouring countries, the efforts of the Secretary-General to enhance international awareness of the plight of the Afghan people were to be applauded.


The possibility of further terrorist strikes underscored the need for collective and coordinated international preparedness and response.  Separate unilateral responses would be ineffective.  The sophisticated movement and training of people, communications, funds and material required a robust system of surveillance and monitoring.


DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon) said that the terrorist acts committed in the United States on 11 September made it vital for the international community to adopt a comprehensive convention against international terrorism.  That item had been on the General Assembly agenda since 1972, but the work still remained to be done.  Terrorism represented a grave menace to peace and security, both for individuals and nations.  The international community must be organized to cope with all of its ramifications and the support it received. It must act quickly and effectively.


To understand terrorism better, it must be dealt with not only in the political but the scientific context, he said.  It must be approached analytically and multi-sectorally, so that a unity of views would be possible.  He welcomed the efforts of the international community to combat terrorism, but solutions to the

problem until now had been fragmentary or sporadic.  Politics had an impact on the effect that resolutions and conventions were designed to have, because they depended on individual legal systems to ensure their implementation.


What was at stake was how effective measures to limit terrorism would be, he said.  The international community must spare nothing to combat this problem.  It must acquire a consistent and operational framework, which would deal with the entire structure of terrorism.  A universal definition must be produced and all of its elements spelled out.


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