12/02/2001
Press Release
L/2971



Ad Hoc Committee on Assembly

Resolution 51/210

Fifth Session

19th Meeting (AM)


COMMITTEE ON TERRORISM TAKES UP DRAFT COMPREHENSIVE ANTI-TERRORISM CONVENTION


Speakers resoundingly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations this morning, as the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism opened its fifth session. 


During the session, which ends next Friday, the Committee is expected to continue consideration of a comprehensive draft international convention on terrorism, as a means of further developing the legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism.


The representative of the Russian Federation said that tragic events in various regions worldwide were clear evidence that terrorism was becoming a truly global phenomenon.  The relevance and urgency of the Committee's work had undoubtedly grown.  The Committee had already elaborated two conventions, and was being called upon to make serious contribution to countering terrorism.


South Africa’s representative said certain fundamental and conceptual issues should be clarified before returning to the drafting of this comprehensive convention.  Its nature and scope must be identified at the outset.  The convention should be comprehensive in nature, as the title implied.  Any other form would take Member States no further towards elaborating a comprehensive legal framework to eliminate international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  Further, the treaty should identify relevant criminal acts and their consequences and elaborate a legal framework, with a high degree of specificity and clarity.  The current text was a good working basis, but some of its aspects should be refined. 


A number of delegations, including Syria and Lebanon, supported a proposal by the representative of Malaysia, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to establish a clear definition of terrorism so that it could be, in Malaysia’s words, “differentiated from the legitimate struggles of people under foreign occupation for national liberation, as recognized by the relevant resolutions and declarations of the United Nations”.


The representative of India, who had prepared the draft of the convention being considered by the Committee, said the relevant sectoral conventions on terrorism must be preserved and their role enhanced in the elaboration of the new convention.  The convention should have its own legitimate, independent and effective role in tackling the multi-faceted problems posed by international terrorism.  The current session should concentrate on areas for which


19th Meeting (AM)


improvements to quality and content had been suggested.  In order to achieve the ultimate objective, "roadblocks" should be cleared as quickly as possible. 


Statements were also made this morning by the representative of Chile (on behalf of the Rio Group), Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Philippines, Cuba, Japan, Pakistan, Turkey, China, Algeria, United States, Republic of Korea, Iraq and Yemen. 


Statements in right of reply were made by the representatives of Cuba and the United States.


Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, opened the meeting, and Committee Chairman, Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka) made a brief opening statement.


In other business this morning, the Committee adopted its agenda and decided to renew the mandate of its Bureau for the present session.  The officers of the Committee are, as follows:  Chairman, Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka); Vice-Chairmen, Carlos Fernando Diaz Paniagua (Costa Rica), Mohammad Gomaa (Egypt), and Cate Steains (Australia); Rapporteur, Ivo Janda (Czech Republic).


Also this morning, the Committee observed a moment of silence on behalf of Vincent LaRocca, observer for the Holy See, who recently passed away.


The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. this afternoon to continue its work.


Committee Work Programme


The General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism met this morning to open its fifth session, due to run until 23 February.  During the session, the Committee will continue its consideration of a draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism as a means of further developing a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism. 


The Committee would also consider the question of convening a high-level United Nations conference to formulate a joint organized response from the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 


Pursuant to the General Assembly resolution entitled "United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime" (document A/RES/55/158), the Committee was called on to recognize the links between transnational organized crime and acts of terrorism and apply the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in combating all forms of criminal activity.  The Assembly also recommended that the Committee take into account the Convention during its deliberations.


The Committee was established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of

17 December 1996, to elaborate a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism. 


HANS CORELL, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, opened the meeting.


The Committee then decided it would keep the same bureau as at it had at its previous session:  Chairman:  Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka); Vice-Chairmen: Carlos Fernando Diaz Paniagua (Costa Rica); Mohammed Gomaa (Egypt); Cate Steains (Australia); and Rapporteur:  Ivo Janda (Czech Republic). 


ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), Committee Chairman, expressed on behalf of the bureau his deepest gratitude to the Committee for its confidence.  He urged delegations to extend their utmost cooperation, as they had done in the past, to ensure that their responsibilities were discharged in a timely and business-like manner.  The scourge of terrorism that continued, unabated, to wreak untold havoc and suffering on innocent people in all countries demanded no less.


He then noted the passing away earlier this year of Vincent LaRocca, observer for the Holy See, and requested that the Committee observe a minute of silence on his behalf.


FRANCIS CHULLIKATT, Observer for the Holy See, thanked the Committee for its expression of sympathy.  He read through Msgr. LaRocca’s curriculum vitae to give the Committee a sense of his career, which had been notable for his work with the poor. 


The Committee then adopted its agenda.

It then took note of the documentation it had before it for the current session and considered its organization of work.


Statements


JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, reiterated the Group’s rejection and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  As the international legal framework in the field was strengthened, States would have available to them effective mechanisms for cooperation with each other in the prevention, punishment and, eventually, eradication of terrorism.


The Group had promoted concerted action in that area by the States of the American region, and significant progress had been made in identifying mechanisms for cooperation in the fight against terrorism, such as the Lima Declaration and Plan of Action of 1996.  At the United Nations, the Group had supported and promoted the adoption of increasingly important and specific multilateral instruments to combat terrorism.  The last meeting of the working group of the Sixth Committee (Legal) had taken up a task which the Group considered to be of fundamental importance, namely, the negotiation of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.


He said the goal pursued by the members of the Group was the strengthening of the international legal framework in the fight against terrorism, an objective that would be achieved with the adoption of a convention on terrorism that was an effective and universally accepted instrument for cooperation and coordinated action by States.  The Committee should first deal with the characterisation or legal description of terrorism, on which the other provisions of the convention would depend.  The approach to, and structure of, the legal description to be set out in article 2 of the Convention should be centred on the usual purpose of terrorism, which was to produce fear in the population or to force a government or international organization to take or refrain from taking some action.


He said it was important to continue discussion among delegations with a view to achieving broadly acceptable formulas on the issues still outstanding in the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.  He added that before convening an international conference to formulate a joint organized response to terrorism, the issue must be carefully studied.


BOSSE HEDBERG (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that nearly every day, the world was reminded that acts of terrorism created great suffering among innocent people.  Indeed, terrorism was a serious threat to democracy and the rule of law and, thus, the functioning of societies.  The Union unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms, regardless of motive or origin.  Nevertheless, in its legitimate efforts to suppress terrorism, the international community must always respect human rights and freedoms.


He said that the work of the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee (Legal) had remained fundamental for further development of norms on counterterrorism, and for the continued establishment of effective instruments to combat terrorism at national and international levels.  There must be no safe havens for terrorists nor impunity for their acts.  In order to combat terrorism, the world must arm itself with effective instruments for cooperation, without compromising human rights and humanitarian law, as it fought to end the political and human tragedies that created the instability on which terrorists thrived.


Concerning the work of the Committee on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he said Committee members should not lose momentum.  They should concentrate on issues where prospects for progress were best.  The Union continued to believe that the existing international conventions on terrorism, as a whole, were considerable achievements that must be preserved.  Any comprehensive convention should, therefore, avoid creating legal overlaps with the existing body of counterterrorism conventions and represent an added value.  The convention's scope had remained key, and agreement on article 2 of the draft, concerning the legal definition of terrorism, could facilitate other solutions.


ENRIQUE MANALO (Philippines) said the Committee’s work symbolized a common condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, as well as a collective determination to rid the world of it.  Steady progress had been achieved over the years, and he was sure that even more would be made.  He said that in its current form the draft convention offered a level of comprehensiveness that could meaningfully address the issue of international terrorism.


Perhaps in the future, the Committee could discuss a more comprehensive convention that would go beyond the “try-or-extradite” regime and beyond the rules that merely prohibited the use of one’s territory for terrorist purposes, to rules involving State responsibility.  He felt that the issue of the scope and definition of offences was an important issue. 


The relationship of the comprehensive convention with the existing terrorist conventions was another significant issue, he said.  He favoured the comprehensiveness of the draft convention.  He hoped that in terms of legal relationships, the draft convention would not merely be relegated to that of a common optional protocol to the existing sectoral conventions.  He added that he supported the proposal to give due consideration to the victims of terrorism.


BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said that it was the responsibility of States to adopt measures to prevent the organization and financing of terrorist activities against other States.  He detailed recent terrorist acts against his country and set the record straight on related interactions between Cuba and the United States.  Presently, the United States Government was bringing pressure to bear on Panama to prevent the extradition of a terrorist group.  That was not surprising, since the United States had financed terrorist groups against Cuba, and employed mercenaries such as those allegedly involved in the Panama activities.  Indeed, in the war against Cuba the United States had allowed United States territory to be used as a base of operations for terrorist organizations.


He said he shared the hope of others that good faith and sufficient political will would enable the Committee to negotiate a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  The draft convention presented by India had his support.  The definition of terrorism, the scope of implementation of a general convention, and the future relationship between the emerging draft and existing treaties were among the more important challenges, and certain to test the will of all Member States.  A definition of the crime of terrorism must not depend on an evaluation of the scale of material damage.  He supported the initiative by the Non-aligned Movement of countries (NAM) for the convening of an international high-level conference on international terrorism, under United Nations auspices.


TOSHIYUKI SATO (Japan) said Japan condemned all forms of terrorism and was resolutely committed to combating it.  It was vital that the international community act as one in responding to it.  An international legal framework to punish terrorists must be established, and all States must accede to it.  Japan appreciated the initiative taken by India regarding the convention.  It would support the convention provided that it contributed to the creation of a truly effective international legal framework. 


Regarding the draft convention on the prevention of nuclear terrorism, he said it was regrettable that deliberations were not making progress because of certain unresolved issues.  As for the holding a high-level meeting within the framework of the United Nations, such a meeting must be held in a manner that would effectively advance international cooperation, and must be carefully considered.  Japan would participate in significant and in-depth discussions on the issues involved. 


VLADIMIR Y. TARABRIN (Russian Federation) said that tragic events which had occurred in various regions worldwide were clear evidence that terrorism was becoming a truly global phenomenon.  Everyone had witnessed the formation of a terrorist international which was presenting a dangerous challenge to international peace and security and strategic stability, on a universal scale.  An adequate response to that evil would only be possible if the efforts of all States throughout world were joined.  Its achievement was impossible, however, without a broad legal framework for cooperation and interaction among States and their competent authorities. 


The relevance and urgency of the Committee's work had undoubtedly grown, he said.  The Committee had already elaborated two conventions, and was being called upon to make another serious contribution to countering terrorism.  His delegation was ready to take an active part in the elaboration of such a convention, on the basis of the draft tabled by the Indian delegation.  The Committee now had a nearly finished draft on combating nuclear terrorism.  Hopefully, it could prepare effective international instruments for the prevention of terrorism. 


ABDUL KHALID OTHMAN (Malaysia), on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that in the spirit of making the draft as comprehensive as possible, the Conference had submitted a proposal that made a clear definition of terrorism, so that it could be differentiated from the legitimate struggles of peoples under foreign occupation for national liberation, as recognized by the relevant resolutions and declarations of the United Nations. 


The Conference had been at the forefront of efforts to combat terrorism as unacceptable and unjustifiable criminal acts, he said.  The Conference fully subscribed to the General Assembly Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and Security Council resolution 1269 (1999), which had reaffirmed that terrorist acts could be a threat to international peace and security.  In Burkina Faso in July 1999, during the Conference Foreign Ministers’ annual meeting, a convention on combating international terrorism had been adopted, he noted.  The Conference’s proposal to the draft was based on that convention.  He stressed the need to remove any ambiguity with regard to the term “terrorism”. 


ROSS MASUD (Pakistan) said his country had consistently reiterated its condemnation of terrorism.  During the last session of the General Assembly, Pakistan had acceded to, among others, the international conventions on taking hostages and the protection of nuclear material.  Pakistan had also enacted special legislation to deal with terrorist crimes.  He was grateful to India for submitting a very useful draft and to the delegate of Malaysia for drawing attention to the question of a comprehensive definition of terrorism. 


The Committee was faced with a very difficult task -- elaborating a comprehensive convention, he said.  Whenever terrorism was discussed, political views were brought in to determine what terrorism was.  He noted that the “terrorists” of yesterday had often been recognized as the leaders of today.  If fundamental features of international terrorism were ignored, a comprehensive instrument could not be elaborated.  It was necessary to take into consideration the Islamic Conference proposal to develop a definition, so that terrorist acts could be distinguished from legitimate struggles for liberation.  The question of terrorist acts by paramilitary or military personnel of States could not be excluded, he added.


JOANN SCHNEEBERGER (South Africa) said there was a long road ahead.  Certain fundamental and conceptual issues should be clarified before returning to the drafting of the convention.  Its nature and scope must be identified at the outset.  The convention should be comprehensive in nature, as the title implied.  Any other form would take members no further towards elaborating a comprehensive legal framework to eliminate international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  Further, the treaty should identify relevant criminal acts and their consequences and elaborate a legal framework, with a high degree of specificity and clarity.  The current text was a good working basis, but some of its aspects should be refined. 


She said that the nature of the convention should have two objectives -- to prevent terrorist acts and, where impossible, to prosecute such acts.  Mutual legal assistance, as well as interstate cooperation, were crucial elements.  The convent should also be universally acceptable in order to ensure that all States were part of a preventive framework, without which it could not succeed.  Ensuring a successful prosecution regime was equally important.  Such a comprehensive convent was different and distinct from existing ones.  It was also necessary that the convention pay particular attention to an extradition regime. 


The challenging tasks ahead were not impossible, she said.  In 1999, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) adopted a convention on preventing and combating terrorism, which had presented an excellent example of how such a seemingly complex task could be accomplished. 


TEOMAN UYKUR (Turkey) said terrorism was not justifiable under any circumstances.  He reiterated the obligation of States to prevent and suppress in their respective territories acts of terrorism and to refrain from organizing, instigating, facilitating, financing, encouraging or tolerating such activities.  Denying terrorists safe haven and the right of asylum had a particular relevance in international cooperation.  That issue should be addressed in an effective way within the comprehensive convention.


The preparation of international instruments, although an essential part of the fight against terrorism, was not the only field of joint efforts, he said.  States and relevant international institutions should also cooperate among themselves to implement those instruments to the fullest possible extent.  It was the eagerness of States to prevent terrorism and the actual degree of their cooperation that would determine the success of the international community.


SU WEI (China) reiterated his Government's firm condemnation of terrorist activity in all its forms, as well as its opposition to terrorism by any country, organization, body or individual for whatever purpose or motive.  Those activities indiscriminately deprived innocent civilians of their lives and welfare, caused colossal damage to social infrastructure and seriously undermined the peace and stability of societies.  Terrorism even threatened international and regional peace and security.  As terrorism was becoming more transnational and more "high-tech" in character, it was more urgent than ever for countries to cooperate and adopt forceful measures to combat it.


He said the Committee had contributed to the development of an international legal framework for eliminating terrorism and had succeeded in adopting a convention for the suppression of terrorist bodies and their financing.  Agreement had also been reached on a basic framework for a draft treaty on suppressing acts of nuclear terrorism, thus laying an important foundation for its final adoption.  He was optimistic, therefore, about further strengthening and perfecting the legal measures for eliminating international terrorism.  It was widely accepted that the Indian text should serve as a basis for further negotiations. 


During the first round of substantial deliberations, he said, gratifying progress had been made in many areas, but that had not meant that Committee members could afford to underestimate the difficulties that lay ahead.  In order to squarely face the issues raised in the first round of negotiations and formulate acceptable solutions, sufficient political will should be summoned.  In other Committee business, he supported the Australian coordinator’s proposal for further informal consultations on pending issues related to the draft convention on nuclear terrorism.  He also supported the proposal by the Egyptian delegation for a high-level international conference on terrorism.


HAYDAR ALI-AHMAD (Syria) reaffirmed his country’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and expressions.  It opposed terrorism by individuals or as collective acts and reaffirmed the need to define terrorism.  Terrorism must be distinguished from the legitimate national struggle against foreign occupation.


Syria participated in the diverse conventions against terrorism and had enacted national legislation, he said.  None of the conventions analysed by the Committee thus far had presented a definition of terrorism and its content.  A clear definition would help avoid confusion.  He called for continued effort and flexibility.  Military forces must not be excluded from the framework of the convention, to avoid assigning legitimacy to the terrorism of armed forces.  The right of the people to legitimate struggle against foreign occupation must be provided for, he stressed.  The elaboration of a definition of terrorism was not impossible for the international community, if the necessary political will was present. 


HOUSSAM ASAAD DIAB (Lebanon) said his country rigorously condemned all terrorist acts, including violence, hostage-taking, hijacking of aircraft, the use of explosives and all similar acts committed against innocent civilians.  His country was ready to cooperate in any international effort that was just, and which did not take any predetermined side or operate in the interest of certain circles.  Existing legislation in Lebanon condemned the authors of terrorist acts.  Also, the Lebanese Government had already deposited with the United Nations a declaration on the multilateral convention relating to terrorism, and it was a party to the anti-terrorist conventions.  Similarly, it had deposited a law, dated 11 June 1996, which was amended to include relevant elements of the conventions.


Concerning the draft of the comprehensive terrorism convention, he said that issues not covered in existing treaties should be considered in a global context in order to find legal and genuine solutions.  The focus should rise to the level of international, and not just domestic, legality.  He, thus, called for an exhaustive text which was not a mere attempt to fill existing legal gaps. The need for a comprehensive legal convention did not mean that the existing underlying norms should be ignored, particularly the legitimate right to self-determination and the opposition of foreign occupation.  Indeed, violent acts committed by occupying forces against civilians were among the most horrible crimes, and their authors should be punished.


Ignoring these fundamental facts would weaken the convention, and create problems in terms of interpreting the duties and obligations of States, he went on.  The current draft still contained gaps.  In particular, there was no exact definition of terrorism, nor was any solution provided to the issue of State terrorism which was one of the most abject forms of terrorism.  In that regard, he supported the Malaysian proposal, made on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference during the Committee's previous session.  The draft convention on nuclear terrorism should consider the question of nuclear waste disposal.  Specifically, it should include a provision for the prosecution of illegal acts, such as the burial of such waste, which resulted in serious physical damage to affected populations, a well as to property or the environment.


ALI HAFRAD (Algeria) said acts of terrorism constituted a serious threat to international peace and security.  They were an attack on the most fundamental human rights.  Algeria unequivocally condemned all forms of terrorism in all its manifestations.  In the face of the ramifications of terrorist acts, he was convinced that international cooperation and solidarity was the sole guarantee of success. 


Algeria believed that after the conclusion of many sectoral conventions, the elaboration of a comprehensive convention was now possible.  His delegation fully supported such a step.  It would make it possible to take account of all terrorist acts in place of the piecemeal approach followed up to now.  He underscored that without peace and security there could be no prosperity.


HALEY D. COLLUMS (United States) congratulated India on its draft text and said the Committee’s October exchange had been very positive.  Important issues must still be resolved and his delegation would work cooperatively to address those problems.


He reaffirmed his Government’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, whatever the motive or whomever the author.  That included a condemnation of State-sponsored terrorism.  He reiterated his Government’s position that the term terrorism was not an appropriate way to define the conduct of States.


He said he wished to set the record straight regarding Cuba’s earlier statement.  The United States found it regrettable that it was again necessary to address unsupported allegations made against his country before the Committee.  The United States had heard almost the same intervention on numerous previous occasions and reiterated its denials of the charges.  He called upon Cuba to desist from revisiting the issues each time the issue of terrorism came up.   


Regarding the campaign of bombings in Havana in 1998, the United States had issued a clear condemnation of those acts at the time, he said.  Mr. Posada was not a United States citizen or resident and was now under suspicion of committing acts in Panama.  He was sure that Panama could address those actions appropriately.  It was unfair and improper to attribute the acts of individuals to the United States, he added.  

With respect to the trial of the four persons accused of attempting to assassinate Mr. Castro, he said the United States had vigorously prosecuted the case in accordance with the rule of law.  The jury had returned a verdict of not guilty.  The Government was disappointed with the result, but that was the system of justice.  It would continue to vigorously prosecute persons brought before it on such charges.


LEE KEY-CHEOL (Republic of Korea) reaffirmed the Republic of Korea’s  unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.  In that regard, the Committee had already achieved significant success in advancing relevant legal instruments.  Now, the formidable task of drafting a comprehensive convention on international terrorism lay before it.  Just as overcoming the seemingly insurmountable difficulties in elaborating the two previous treaties, members of the Committee would soon succeed in their latest effort.  He would spare no effort to work closely with others to resolve pending issues and turn his expectation of success into a reality.


He said that the draft should ensure flexibility and serve as a foundation for effectively dealing with various forms of terrorism.  It should also maintain consistency with the existing body of law in the field.  Structuring the convention in accordance with standard legal provisions might be one way to achieve that goal.  Although the 2000 United Nations Convention on transnational crime did not focus specifically on terrorism, its very extensive provisions on international cooperation could provide useful guidance in developing a comprehensive terrorism convention.  New and progressive elements could be introduced into the draft convention, bearing in mind the need to preserve the overall integrity of the existing legal framework.


ABDUL MUNIM AL-KADHE (Iraq) said he fully supported the Committee’s efforts to elaborate a comprehensive convention against terrorism.  His Government condemned all forms of terrorism, including State-sponsored terrorism, which it considered one of the worst forms.  The United States had devoted some $97 million to provide resources to Iraqi elements, cooperating with the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to cause trouble in his country.  In recent months, he added, the United States administration had agreed to transfer further sums to those elements. 


Moreover, he said, American and British airplanes were daily bombing Iraqi territories without explicit or implicit authorization from the Security Council.  Such actions were in violation of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter and could only be considered an act of aggression.  He stressed that the actions of States must be dealt with within the convention.  He also underlined the extreme importance of defining terrorism very clearly, as proposed by the representative of Malaysia.


P.S. RAO (India) said he would strive to reconcile the concerns expressed by delegations over the draft.  Sectoral conventions must be preserved and their role enhanced.  The new convention should have its own legitimate, independent and effective role in tackling the multi-faceted problems posed by international terrorism.  Following the first round of negotiations in working groups, many articles were now ripe for reasonable clearance on their own merits.  That should be done at the current session, subject to a final look after a review of all of the articles.


He said that the session should concentrate on examining those areas for which there were suggestions on improvement.  In order to achieve the ultimate objective, the "roadblocks" should be cleared as quickly as possible.  Then, the remaining provisions should be addressed.  Wisdom and reconciliation were essential ingredients to the Committee's success.  He would be grateful for any and every help, as his role was one of coordination.


ALI AHMED MOHAMMED AL-DAILMI (Yemen) said his country supported efforts to fight international terrorism.  He reaffirmed that Yemen was against every act of terrorism, no matter what the source.  Yemen had acceded to many conventions against terrorism and had passed new laws to deal with the problem.  He extended his thanks to India for the draft and was confident that international cooperation would become the basis for countering terrorism.  He supported the statement made by Malaysia.


Speaking in exercise of right of reply, Mr. PARRILLA (Cuba) said that, despite having two years in which to become informed, the United States representative was repeating the ambiguities that he stated in 1999.  Some of the statements that the Cuban delegation had heard were not backed by the facts.  He asked the United States representative to explain some of the statements. 


He said that, in the past, agencies of the United States Government had been the direct perpetrators of terrorist actions against Cuba.  Terrorist organizations, still based in the territory of the United States today, had operated with absolute impunity, and that was the direct responsibility of the United States Government.  He would support that comment with concrete evidence.


One terrorist had been identified in the Tower Commission report as one of the members of the illegal group that was supplying weapons to the Nicaraguan contras.  According to United States Senate documents, that terrorist had also been collecting a salary through the Nicaraguan humanitarian assistance office, which was from the United States Department of State, under the direction of Robert Owen.  That terrorist had traveled on a number of occasions to the United States and had given interviews to the media. 


The perpetrator of the explosion of an aircraft in Barbados had returned to the United States in 1998.  He was arrested and the United States Department of Justice had issued a deportation order.  That had occurred after he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the United States for terrorist activities and following his parole, which he had violated.  Despite that, the Justice Department had issued a deportation order, which was then modified by the President.  The other "arrestees" in Panama were all citizens or residents of the United States.


He asked the United States representative what measures had been taken with regard to that terrorist, in connection with the bombing campaign in

Havana.  It had been organized with impunity and financed by a Cuban American who resides in New Jersey.  In connection with the assassination attempt against President Fidel Castro, he sought information on the relationship between a yacht owner and the White House, as photos of the owner had been taken on various occasions in the company of a number of United States Presidents.


He also asked the United States representative to remark on a document given to President Clinton containing detailed information on numerous terrorist acts by his Government against Cuba from 1992 to 1997.  In June 1998, a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) delegation had visited Havana and received detailed information.  In May 1998, President Clinton had received a message from Cuba containing detailed information on United States terrorist activities.  He asked what actions had been undertaken by the United States Government in connection with those facts.


In December 1999, a federal court in Puerto Rico had shamelessly acquitted the terrorist involved in the attempted assassination of President Castro, he said.  The United States Government had considered that an important defeat, saying there was a great deal of evidence.  The United States blamed its Congress for financial issues and its courts for terrorism.  Indeed, the courts were providing incentives for further acts against Cuba.


Mr. COLUMS (United States) also made a statement in right of reply.  He said Cuba had repeated accusations made earlier.  The Committee was not a useful forum for consideration of bilateral issues between his Government and that of Cuba.  The United States had taken steps to undertake appropriate prosecutions in courts of law.  He reiterated that it was not appropriate to attribute the acts of individuals to the Government of the United States and said that furtherance of the debate this morning would take up the Committee’s time.  The United States did not support terrorist acts and had taken vigorous steps to prosecute those suspected of such acts.


Speaking again in exercise of the right of reply, Mr. PARRILLA (Cuba) asked what the right United Nations forum was in which to deal with the matter.  The United States representative had not answered any of his questions, and his comments did not coincide with the facts.  United States Government agencies, in general, had not prosecuted the authors of terrorism against Cuba, and the venal United States courts absolved those who were prosecuted. 


* *** *