|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixtieth General Assembly
3rd Meeting (AM)
LEGAL COMMITTEE, REVIEWING ISSUES ON COMPLETION OF OVERALL
ANTI-TERRORISM TREATY, NOTES OUTSTANDING DIFFERENCES
Delegates Discuss Need for Definition; Many Describe
Experience of Terrorist Acts Suffered in Own Country or Region
Delegates articulated their positions on the outstanding issues holding up finalization of a comprehensive treaty on terrorism, and called for greater flexibility in the negotiations, as the Sixth Committee (Legal), this morning, took up the topic of measures to eliminate international terrorism. A number of the speakers also framed the discussion in the context of terrorist acts within their own country or region.
The Committee, which has the prime responsibility for negotiating counter-terrorism treaties, is currently working on a draft of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism that would augment the other 13 specific terrorism treaties and fill in gaps in an international legal regime covering the topic. The other treaties separately cover such issues as hijackings, terrorist bombings, taking of hostages, trafficking in nuclear material, and financing of terrorists.
Rohan Perera of Sri Lanka, Chairman of the Anti-Terrorism Committee, introduced the report of that Committee. Among pending issues are a definition of terrorism that recognizes legitimate struggle and right to self-determination, and the question of armed forces and the scope of the treaty’s application.
On the comprehensive convention, the representative of Yemen, speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), complained that negotiations had become “prejudiced” by the presentation of a consolidated text for the treaty which omitted an OIC proposal concerning self-determination and legitimate struggle against foreign occupation.
The representative of Switzerland said that should agreement not be reached on the comprehensive convention, it would reflect on the General Assembly’s capacity for action on a global strategy and institutional measures aimed at fighting terrorism.
Striking a positive note, the delegate of Kenya said, “While we recognize that the outstanding issues are complex and political in nature, we believe that the differences of opinion on them are not insurmountable, so long as we remain focused on our common goal and purpose of eliminating terrorism.”
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Colombia, United Kingdom (for the European Union), Mongolia, Argentina (for the Rio Group), Australia, Ghana, El Salvador, Uruguay, Botswana (for the Southern African Development Community), Viet Nam (for the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Fiji, Cuba, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
The Committee will meet next tomorrow at 10 a.m., Friday, 7 October, to continue hearing speakers on the issue of international terrorism.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to examine the report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (document A/60/37). The Ad Hoc Committee, more commonly known as the Anti-Terrorism Committee, has the major responsibility of negotiating counter-terrorism treaties. The latest treaty to be recommended to the General Assembly was the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was opened for signature at the United Nations Summit on 14 September and has received 89 signatures so far. It joins 12 other major international counter-terrorism treaties, covering such issues as hijackings, terrorist bombings, taking of hostages, and financing of terrorists.
During its last session, its ninth, from 28 March to 1 April 2005, the Ad Hoc Committee also recommended that a working group be established to finalize a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and to keep on its agenda the question of convening a high-level United Nations conference to formulate a joint, organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Another report (document A/60/894) summarizes the results of informal consultations on pending issues related to the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, held from 25 to 29 July 2005. The report emphasizes that the Sixth Committee’s mandate is to draft a technical, legal, criminal law instrument that would facilitate police and judicial cooperation in matters of extradition and mutual assistance and not to draft a political definition of terrorism. It states that the essential elements for a possible definition of terrorism contained in the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565 and Corr.1) and the reports of the Secretary-General were already adequately reflected in the text of the draft convention.
A consolidated text of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, based on the consultations, is attached to the report.
Also before the Sixth Committee is a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (document A/60/164) following up on the request from the General Assembly that the UNODC provide technical assistance in preventing and combating terrorism through the implementation of the universal instruments related to terrorism. The report states that the UNODC will continue to provide such assistance to States, upon request, as a matter of priority.
Having reached a considerable number of countries through first-stage regional, subregional and bilateral assistance activities, the work of the Office will focus more and more on follow-up activities, the report continues. The capacity to provide such in-depth implementation assistance will be strengthened through increased representation at the country and subregional levels, by: (a) placing experts in the field; (b) involving the UNODC field offices; and (c) actively seeking partnerships.
The Committee will also be considering a report from the Secretary-General (A/60/228) which contains summaries from Member States, international organizations, and Secretariat departments on specific activities they’ve undertaken to help prevent and suppress international terrorism.
Introduction of Report
ROHAN PERERA ( Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, in introducing the report, said the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, which was opened for signature on 14 September, had already received 89 signatures. That was a clear demonstration of Member States’ commitment to combat international terrorism in accordance with the principles of international law. That development should undoubtedly have a beneficial impact on the Committee’s pending work programme. It was hoped that the Committee would soon be able to deliver a finalized text of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. After describing the contents of the report, he said that during the informal consultations in July, various proposals had been made on how to overcome the current impasse on a draft of article 18. Finalizing the comprehensive convention was a priority challenge that the Sixth Committee had the ability to meet.
JURG LAUBER ( Switzerland) said that according to the Summit’s Outcome Document, Governments entrusted the General Assembly with developing elements for a counter-terrorism strategy proposed by the Secretary-General. That strategy foresaw global, coordinated and consistent responses at the national, regional and international levels. The Summit also anticipated that agreement would be reached on a comprehensive terrorism convention.
He said the elements identified by the Secretary-General, namely, preventive, repressive and punitive measures and respect for human rights, were relevant and well balanced. Switzerland awaited with interest the further development of the Secretary-General’s proposals. His Government also supported a strengthening of the Assembly’s role in the context of counter-terrorism, given its unique legitimacy in legislative matters. However, the divergent opinions on questions as essential as the very definition of terrorism called into question the Assembly’s capacity to play that significant role. Should agreement not be reached on the comprehensive convention, it would reflect on the Assembly’s capacity for action, including in reaching agreement on a global strategy and institutional measures aimed at fighting terrorism.
MARÍA ÁNGELA HOLGUÍN ( Colombia) said her delegation would associate itself with a statement to be made by Argentina, on behalf of the Rio Group. Terrorist acts could not be justified, and must be suppressed and their authors penalized with all severity. She condemned the terrorist acts perpetrated in New York, Madrid, London, Turkey, Egypt and recently in Indonesia, or at any place else. It was now time to make the prevention of terrorism a shared responsibility. That should include the strengthening of legislative measures against money-laundering, illicit traffic of drugs and illicit trafficking in arms, ammunition and explosives, as well as kidnapping. No State was immune to terrorism, nor could it fight terrorism alone.
She said Colombia pleaded for the quick adoption of a global strategy against terrorism, founded on the principle of shared responsibility. It supported measures proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General to deny terrorists access to resources and materials, and reiterated its commitment to continue its active participation in the quick adoption of a general convention on international terrorism.
She spoke of the effective strategies her country had undertaken to combat terrorism under its “Politics of Defence and Democratic Security” which guaranteed security and liberty, protected human rights and encouraged social and economic development. The anti-terrorist strategy deployed by the Colombian Government had resulted in the reduction of kidnappings by 58 per cent, attacks on pipelines by 48 per cent and on the population by 20 per cent. The capture of illegal armed groups had also increased by 167 per cent, she said. Those tangible results showed that the determined will of peoples and their Governments was essential to defeat terrorism. Cooperation among States was also essential to defeat terrorism at the international level.
HUW LLEWELLYN (United Kingdom), for the European Union and its associated and candidate States, said the European Union had in July again suffered the horror of a major terrorist atrocity, this time in London. The most recent terrorist target had been Bali, for the second time in recent years. No continent was safe from the threat of terror, he said. International terrorism required an international response. The European Union and its member States unequivocally condemned all terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation. They reaffirmed their commitment to combating terrorism, and at the same time underlined the need for enhancing dialogue and broadening understanding among civilizations.
He said the United Nations had already done much to set international standards and to encourage and help States to meet them. The European Union welcomed the Summit Outcome’s clear condemnation of terrorism and the call to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism during the current General Assembly session; the Union and its members would work hard towards that end.
The United Nations had a central and important role to play in combating terrorism, and the European Union welcomed the Secretary-General’s counter-terrorism strategy. Completion of the comprehensive convention was a major element in that strategy, and would pave the way for future consideration of the strategy by the General Assembly. Similarly, the European Union saw discussion of the possibility of convening a high-level United Nations conference on counter-terrorism as an issue that could be taken forward after the conclusion of the comprehensive convention.
He said the 13 sectoral United Nations Conventions and Protocols were a major achievement in the fight against terrorism. The European Union was fully committed to their ratification and full implementation and called upon all States to match that commitment. The completion and adoption in April this year of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was a very significant achievement of the General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism. The European Union’s view remained firmly that the comprehensive convention should supplement, not supplant, the sectoral Conventions.
BAATAR CHOISUREN ( Mongolia) strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack in Indonesia. He said terrorism and other crimes were now organized, transnational, interrelated and mutually supportive. Terrorism was a grave violation of human rights and must be fought in a comprehensive manner within social, political, economic, intellectual and even ecological spheres. He supported the convening of high-level conference to formulate an international response to terrorism. The United Nations’ anti-terrorism mechanisms should be streamlined and its capacity-building role strengthened. The Organization should play a key role in enhancing governmental capacity in developing countries to counter terrorism.
Mongolia had joined all 12 terrorism conventions and was in the process of ratifying the nuclear terrorism convention. While the adoption of laws against terrorism and other crimes was an important step, the ultimate significance of such international instruments would be in their implementation.
CÉSAR MAYORAL ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, first expressed condolences to all nations and persons that had been victims of terrorist acts, and particularly to Indonesia for the criminal terrorist acts on 1 October. The comprehensive convention must be a precise legal instrument that, among other things, would facilitate cooperation among tribunals and police authorities, in conformity with the principles of human rights and under the basis of “prosecute or extradite”.
Once a comprehensive convention was adopted, the Assembly should elaborate a strategy for the United Nations in the fight against terrorism. That strategy must concentrate on the practical and operational aspects of the United Nations in order to strengthen the Organization’s activities. It would be useful to unify mandates and redirect the human and financial resources that were currently dispersed throughout the Organization.
BEN PLAYLE ( Australia) said the attacks in Bali were a further shocking reminder of the barbarity of terrorism. Closing the gaps in the counter-terrorism legal framework would complement the concerted efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks. It was disappointing that the Summit had not produced a political declaration defining acts of terrorism. Member States must now redouble their efforts to conclude the comprehensive convention. The coordinator’s text of article 18 provided an appropriate scope for the convention. Australia was willing to explore other options to address the concerns some States still held.
He said he welcomed the call for consolidation of reporting obligations related to counter-terrorism as required by the Security Council, saying it would reduce the burden on small States in particular. Stating that effective counter-terrorism cooperation at the bilateral and regional levels was essential, he reviewed Australia’s financial contributions and help with capacity-building to that end.
ROBERT TACHIE-MENSON ( Ghana) said that with its global reach, and with access to, and utilization of, modern technology, terrorism had emerged as one of the most serious threats confronting the international community. It was a threat that undermined the core and the whole basis of civilization. Meeting that threat called for firm, sustained and collective action. Ghana was encouraged by the progress that had been made in the area of nuclear terrorism, culminating in the adoption in April 2005 of the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. That should spur efforts towards a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. While consensus had been achieved on most of the outstanding issues, delegations must work in a spirit of compromise and understanding if the breakthroughs made in the past few months were not to be derailed.
He said the formulations of the High-level Panel Report and that of the Secretary-General, which condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, should form the basis of any definition of terrorism. Any attempt to inject political, religious or cultural relativism into the definition of terrorism would only serve the purpose of emboldening the perpetrators of those atrocities. The purpose should be to give comfort and succour to the victims of those outrages and not the perpetrators. There must be moral clarity in the definition. He affirmed the rights of the oppressed peoples and people under foreign occupation to self-determination, which was incontestable; however, those rights must be exercised within the norms of basic human decency, logic and propriety. Moreover, the right to self-determination was enshrined in the United Nations Charter and other international legal instruments.
CESAR EDGARDO MARTINEZ FLORES ( El Salvador) said that the fight against terrorism must be conducted within a legal and judicial framework. Increasing and reinforcing international cooperation was a key element in preventing and repressing terrorist acts.
He reviewed the regional efforts by El Salvador and its neighbouring countries to counter terrorism, as well as his Government’s own domestic actions. El Salvador, he noted, had also complied with the Security Council resolution on terrorism and had sent in counter-terrorism reports. It had also ratified 11 of the major terrorism conventions and was in the process of ratifying the latest nuclear terrorism convention. He said he hoped that agreement would be reached this session on the comprehensive convention and El Salvador would lend its efforts to that end. In addition to the comprehensive convention, there was also a need for a coordinated and coherent strategy against terrorism that took into account the elements identified by the Secretary-General.
ABDULLAH M. ALSAIDI (Yemen), speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the OIC expressed condolences for the victims of terrorist acts around the world, including the victims of recent attacks in Bali, Indonesia. They strongly condemned all acts and practices of terrorism and remained convinced that terrorism, irrespective of its motivations, objectives, forms, and manifestations, could never be justified. Terrorism should not be associated with any race, religion or culture. Members of the Organization would continue to cooperate and positively work for the adoption of a draft convention on international terrorism. They said it was important that a clear and universally-agreed definition of terrorism should be arrived at. The group believed there should be differentiation between terrorism and the struggle for self-determination against foreign occupation, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
He expressed the OIC’s concern about the report of the Coordinator on the results of the informal consultations on the draft international convention, held from 25 to 29 July 2005. He said the report was expected to be only a factual summary of the proceedings of the informal consultations; however, it had attempted to produce “consolidated text”, which not only omitted the proposal of the OIC group on one of the text’s provisions (article 18) but had also renumbered the articles and made certain technical changes. The OIC believed that such a text raised serious issues of mandate and prejudiced the negotiation process, as well as the efforts for the early conclusion of the draft convention. The group also believed that to facilitate the negotiations and the work of the Committee, negotiations on the draft convention should be based on the reports of the Working Group and, particularly, that of the Ad Hoc Committee contained in document A/57/37.
In view of the importance attached to the issue by world leaders in the Outcome Document, the OIC believed that the forthcoming meetings of the Working Group should be conducted in a formal setting. It expected that its next report would consolidate all the proposals on the table.
SUSANA RIVERO ( Uruguay) said her delegation associated itself with the statement made by Argentina on behalf of the Rio Group. Her Government firmly condemned terrorism; at both international and national levels, it had taken action to combat terrorism. It was party to a number of international conventions and protocols against terrorism and had been among those who signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism last April. Uruguay had submitted four reports to the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee as required by the relevant Council resolution. At the regional level, it had also taken measures to combat the scourge in compliance with relevant regional conventions and agreements.
She said her delegation shared the concerns expressed in the recent report of the Secretary-General on terrorism. She commended the efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in helping Member States in their activities against drug trafficking. Her delegation shared the view expressed in the Outcome Document of the World Summit for an early completion of work on the comprehensive international convention on terrorism. She believed they were on the right course, but hard work remained ahead for the completion of the instrument.
LESEDI THEMA (Botswana), speaking for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said much of the community’s roots emanated from individual and collective struggles for liberation against colonial and racist regimes. Today, following the establishment of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, the SADC aimed to realign and strengthen its collective security capacity to tackle old threats, as well as emerging new ones. The SADC recognized the threat of terrorism and unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; however, it viewed the scourges of poverty, hunger, disease, and inter- and intra-State conflicts as the fiercest threats the region faced.
A consensus agreement on the legal definition of terrorism should take into account the right to self-determination in conformity with the principles of the Charter and international law. Careful consideration should also be given to deleting the exclusion clauses regarding armed forces, in negotiations on the remaining articles of the comprehensive convention.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam), speaking for the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the terrible act of targeting innocent people in a public area in Bali was clearly an act of terrorism. Guided by the experience of the fight against terrorism over the past few years, the ASEAN member countries held the view that measures taken against terrorism must be comprehensive, balanced and in compliance with international law, particularly the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. He emphasized the need to address the root causes of terrorism and said ASEAN rejected any attempt to associate terrorism with any race, religion, nationality or ethnic group.
The United Nations must play a leading role in the fight against terrorism. He reviewed ASEAN’s efforts to enhance regional cooperation and coordination and to build counter-terrorism capacity.
WANJUKI MUCHEMI ( Kenya) said terrorists were quick to find ways to circumvent the counter-terrorism measures being put in place at the national, regional and international levels. Indeed, the list of cities that had suffered from heinous acts of terrorism continued to grow. He offered condolences to the people in the most recent, in London and Bali.
He said Kenya endorsed the five pillars identified in the Secretary-General’s strategy. Noting that the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee had recently conducted a needs assessment mission in Kenya, he said it would improve Kenya’s counter-terrorism efforts. He also commended the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for providing technical support and development of State capacity in preventing terrorism. Cooperation among United Nations divisions and agencies, as well as other internal organizations, should be strengthened to avoid duplication.
He reviewed the measures taken by Kenya at the national level to prevent terrorist acts. As for the comprehensive convention, he said, “While we recognize that the outstanding issues are complex and political in nature, we believe that the differences of opinion on them are not insurmountable, so long as we remain focused on our common goal and purpose of eliminating terrorism.” Kenya would continue to exercise flexibility with regard to the definition of terrorism.
INDER JIT (India), referring to the Assembly’s 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, said the Declaration made it clear that no considerations of political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature could justify criminal acts intended or calculated to promote a state of terror in the general public. “Unfortunately, the Declaration continues to be flouted by a few States that provide moral, material, financial and logistical sponsorship and support, as well as provide arms to terrorists”, he said. India had been at the receiving end of cross-border terrorism for almost two decades. Those attacks represented a challenge to the established values of its society and the democratic political process.
He said counter-terrorism efforts must not be confined to a hunt for specific individuals or groups. Terrorist organizations derived their sustenance from criminal activities, including arms smuggling, drugs production and trafficking and money-laundering. Cooperating to eliminate those criminal activities would also contribute to the struggle against terrorism. He reviewed the steps his country had taken, saying that India’s capacity to deal with the vicissitudes of terrorism could be traced to its ability to accommodate different cultural and civil traditions over time. Noting that India was the largest democracy in the world and had secularism at its heart, and was also the second largest Islamic society in the world, he said that deliberate weakening of secular democratic forces in many parts of the world had left the fundamentalists as the only vehicle of popular dissent. Referring to a definition of terrorism, he said if the General Assembly abdicated its central role in the process, the Security Council would continue to deal with the issue in a “partial, piecemeal manner”.
RI SONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said his country considered that the worldwide vicious cycle of terrorism stemmed from unilateralism and high-handed acts of oppressing other nations with arrogance and despotism. It should be the prime target of the international community to prevent such high-handedness and unilateralism. The elimination of the root causes of terrorism required the establishment of international relations based on sovereign equality, multilateralism and justice, as well as the eradication of exploitation, oppression and social inequality and the promotion of sustainable development for the benefit of mankind.
It was imperative to root out acts of State terrorism that threatened independent States and violated their sovereignty. The combat against terrorism should be waged in strict accordance with the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Branding other countries as terrorist States, imposing upon them pressure and sanctions, and attempting to topple their political systems, represented grave acts of State terrorism, he said. The international community should never tolerate that. It should respect sovereign equality, ideology, social system, culture and customs of each other and promote international cooperation.
MAGED ABDELFATTAH ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said deliberations on the fight against terrorism should focus on strengthening the global handling of the question within a multilateral framework, particularly in the General Assembly. There were several political, economic and social dimensions of terrorism which required the addressing of its underlying causes. In addition to enhancing the legal framework through international instruments, it was necessary that more efficient ways to deal with its realistic aspects were developed. To prevent terrorists from achieving their goals, there ought to be more practical measures to deny assistance, protection and financing. It was imperative to enhance international cooperation against terrorism with the ultimate objective of the total elimination of the phenomenon.
The issue of international terrorism should be approached by focusing on both the legal and practical aspects. To facilitate the work of the Sixth Committee, Egypt had presented a working paper for consideration in preparation for the convening of a special session of the General Assembly on the subject.
SAINIVALATI NAVOTI ( Fiji) said he shared the optimism and confidence of the coordinator of the informal consultations that it was time to overcome political differences and show flexibility in negotiations on the comprehensive convention.
Fiji supported the need for a clear definition of terrorism even though such a requirement might not directly lie within the scope of the mandate. Fiji associated itself with the growing number who supported the current formulation of the relevant article; moreover, it believed the language in article 2 on the scope and purpose of the convention satisfied the requirements of criminal law with its precise technical legal language.
He informed the Committee that Fiji would be hosting a workshop on combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism from 24 to 26 October.
ORLANDO REQUEIJO GUAL ( Cuba) said agreement on the comprehensive convention required flexibility by all and not just a few delegations. The convention must contain a clear, precise definition of terrorism. Nor should the actions of armed forces be excluded from its scope, since such an exclusion could be used to justify the efforts of some States to destabilize others. The convention must also clearly distinguish between terrorism and the right to legitimate struggle and self-determination.
Since 1959, the Cuban people had suffered from countless terrorist acts, he said. It was widely known that those terrorist acts were organized, planned, financed and committed from United States territory, where numerous confessed terrorists continued to move and live freely. The United States administration had concealed the fact that the terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, was in the United States and still refused to reveal how he had entered the country.
He said, “The Administration that in the name of the struggle against terrorism has launched wars and sent its soldiers to die, is the same that protects one of the most notorious terrorists of our times, the mastermind behind the deadly sabotage of a Cuban airliner carrying 73 passengers, and responsible for many other murders of citizens from Cuba and other nations.”
Venezuela, he added, also had pending issues with Mr. Posada Carriles and had requested his extradition. Mr. Posada Carriles was accused, among other things, of having brutally tortured many Venezuelan citizens during his term there as an officer.
He spoke on the detention seven years ago of three Cuban and two United States citizens, whom he described as “five young Cuban fighters against terrorism”. In August, he said, the Atlanta Court of Appeals had declared the original Miami trial against them as void for failing to be “just and impartial”, yet, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had requested the Court to revise its ruling. Cuba would not cease to fight until “Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch and other terrorists like them” were judged for their crimes; it would also continue to support the Venezuelan extradition request.
MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) said his country had been a major target of terrorism and was in the forefront of the international war against it. It had launched large-scale operations in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan against terrorist and other criminals. As a result, a number of terrorists had been captured or arrested including 700 Al-Qaida operatives. Pakistan was closely cooperating, including through intelligence sharing, to curb terrorist financing. It had strengthened its domestic legal and administrative framework and signed or ratified 11 out of the 13 United Nations Conventions and Protocols against terrorism. Domestically, it had banned extremist organizations, detained extremists, outlawed hate material and the misuse of religious institutions, including “madrassas”.
He said Pakistan would continue to work with other delegations to achieve a consensus on the work on the comprehensive international convention on terrorism. He believed agreement reached on terrorism in the text of the Outcome Document of the recent World Summit could facilitate the emergence of that consensus. He supported the position of the OIC that negotiations on the draft comprehensive international convention should be conducted on the basis of reports of the Ad Hoc Committee and the Working Group of the Sixth Committee, both on terrorism. In finalizing the draft text, he said focus should be on areas of difference which had so far prevented consensus. He said to exclude the activities of armed forces from the purview of the convention was untenable. It was not enough to say that their activities were governed by international law. So were the activities of irregular groups or guerrilla movements, both of which were covered by provisions of the Geneva Convention and its Protocols. He said the best solution could be insertion of the provisions of paragraph 81 of the Summit’s Outcome Document, as well as deletion of sub-paragraphs 2 and 3 of the draft text of the comprehensive international convention.
While welcoming the Secretary-General’s report, he said the strategy proposed in it for combating terrorism should be elaborated and refined. It should, among other factors, encompass the measures for international cooperation against terrorism already adopted by the Security Council. The campaign against terrorism should not be used as a cover to suppress the legitimate struggles of peoples for self-determination or against foreign occupation. Noting that the Secretary-General’s strategy sought to “dissuade disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic”, he said that could only be done if the comprehensive strategy addressed the underlying causes of terrorism. Doing so, in no way implied justifying terrorism, he added.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia) said his Government condemned the cowardly attacks at restaurants in Bali and offered its condolences to the relatives of the victims and nations who lost their citizens. It was determined not to be sidetracked from its reform efforts to create an open, democratic society. No amount of blackmail or scare tactics would frustrate it from its efforts to enhance development, strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights. It would not succumb to terrorism or any other organized crime, he said. The attacks, coming just before negotiations on the comprehensive international convention on terrorism, were a clear message requiring that efforts be redoubled to settle pending issues on the draft instrument.
He said nobody and no nation were safe from terrorism, and international cooperation was the only viable and reasonable response, with all religions working together and with the United Nations at the forefront. He shared the conviction of the World Summit on the need for the conclusion of the draft text on a comprehensive international convention on terrorism. His country also shared the view that the General Assembly should, without delay, develop further the elements of counter-terrorism strategy identified by the Secretary-General. Adoption of the strategy, accompanied by the international convention, would contribute to the promotion of a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent response to terrorism at all levels, he said.
* *** *For information media • not an official record