Press Briefing


Security Council members Ellen Margrethe Løj (Denmark), Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee; César Mayoral (Argentina), Chair of the Committee concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban; and Mihnea Ioan Motoc (Romania), Chair of the Committee to prevent access of non-State actors to Weapons of Mass Destruction, this morning updated correspondents on their Committees’ work during a press conference at Headquarters.

Regarding the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), officially known as the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), Ms. Løj said its main task was to monitor implementation of resolution 1373 and to facilitate assistance to States with lack of capacity to implement the resolution.  The next three-month programme of work would be published in the coming days.  When assuming Chairmanship of the Committee in April, Denmark had defined the following priorities:  to sustain and strengthen international support for the fight against terrorism; to focus efforts where needs were most pronounced; to facilitate assistance to Member States who were willing, but not capable, to implement the far-reaching provisions of the resolution; to continue to strengthen cooperation between international, regional and subregional organizations; and to ensure respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism.

Recruitment for the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) had been slower than expected, she said, but after the summer recess, the Directorate would be fully staffed.  Despite lack of resources, however, the CTED had been able to carry out its work through dialogue with States and had visited Morocco, Kenya and Albania.  Currently, the CTED was visiting Thailand.   Since establishment of the Committee, more than 600 reports from Member States had been submitted to it.  However, reporting was not an end in itself; implementation was, and assistance to Member States was important in that regard.  The experts of the CTED had started to assess the needs of Member States, on the basis of which the Committee could now start to facilitate contacts with potential donors.  The Committee was also developing a best-practices advisory guide on how to implement the resolution.

Mr. Motoc said the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) was the latest addition to the three “borderless” anti-terrorism Committees, which had different mandates, monitoring methods and subjects.  They were not about implementing sanctions but about putting to work anti-terrorism provisions adopted by the Council.  His Committee was both involved in anti-proliferation efforts -- filling in the gaps in the existing international non-proliferation regimes -- and in efforts to deny terrorist entities access to weapons of mass destruction.  Action at the United Nations level regarding terrorism should be complemented with regional and national efforts.

The Committee felt a sense of urgency in the implementation of the provisions of resolution 1540, he continued.  Committee members like to help States in putting in place legal administrative and other measures, including export-control measures, before weapons of mass destruction would fall into the hands of terrorists.  Also, as the recent Non-Proliferation Conference had not produced the expected results, it was all the more important to work on the Council approach to non-proliferation.  Moreover, the Committee’s mandate would expire in April 2006. 

He said the Committee had entered into the substantive phase of its activities.  It had received 118 reports from Member States and one from the European Union (EU).  It had processed 20 of them and had started a dialogue with the States concerned.  There was a need to concentrate on capacity-building and providing technical assistance to countries willing to cooperate.  The Committee was supported by a team of experts.  The resolution was based on domestic implementation.  Nobody should feel shielded from the threats.  Terrorists could strike anywhere.  He hoped that the Council would extend the Committee’s mandate, based on its performance.  Measures of success would include:  having raised awareness of the problem worldwide; having established a clear picture of the state of affairs regarding legislation and physical protection in all countries; and having started a dialogue with the provision of technical assistance where needed; and having established a basis for international cooperation.

Mr. Mayoral, chairman of the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and created before 11 September 2001, said the Committee had been established to monitor the implementation by States of sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban and their associates.  Those sanctions consisted of an arms embargo, a travel ban and a freeze of assets.  On 25 April, he had informed the Council on progress achieved.  Currently, the Committee was working on an analytical assessment of the implementation of sanctions measures, as required by resolution 1526 (2004).  That assessment was important for the adoption of a new Council resolution, which should include current sanction measures.  The Committee was supported by a monitoring team, consisting of eight experts, which was about to submit its third and final report to the Council.

Sanctions on the Al-Qaida and Taliban depended on the quality of the Committee’s Consolidated List, which currently contained 442 names and entities, with 144 associated with the Taliban, and 298 with Al-Qaida.  More needed to be done by States to enhance the quality of information and the number of entries on the list.  States should submit names of individuals and entities they discover immediately to the Committee for inclusion in the list.  Problems encountered by States in neutralizing terrorists could be eliminated by better international cooperation, better use of existing resources and by obtaining technical assistance from other States.  He invited all States to engage in a mutual dialogue with the Committee.  So far, the United Kingdom and the United States had done so.  Next week, a dialogue will begin with Australia and the Netherlands.

Answering correspondents’ questions, Mr. Mayoral said people and entities on the Consolidated List were subjected to three types of sanction:  a travel ban; a freeze of their assets and a weapons embargo.  They were included in the List through consensus among Council members. 

Asked why the Committee was restricted to Al-Qaida and the Taliban, Ms. Løj said that Council resolution 1566 (2004) had established a Committee to discuss how to deal with terrorists that were not Al-Qaida or Taliban, chaired by the representative of the Philippines.  That Committee had not yet reached firm conclusions, because of difficulties in defining terrorist organizations.

Addressing a question about conflicting mandates of the three Committees, Mr. Motoc said that the mandates were not conflicting but different.  That presented a strong case for the Committees to cooperate, to avoid overlap and to profit from existing expertise and resources.  In answer to another question, he said that the lack of capacity mainly concerned administrative capacity for drafting specialized legislation.  In some cases there was a lack of capacity for drafting reports.  Some countries believed that, since they had no connection with weapons of mass destruction, they had no connection with resolution 1540.  The Committee, therefore, also had to work more on raising awareness.

One correspondent suggested that there were countries that used the lack of capacity as an excuse and did not cooperate because of a lack of political will and asked if the Chairpersons were willing to identify such countries.  He also asked for examples of terrorists that had been arrested or stopped as a result of the Committees’ work.  Ms. Løj answered that the aim of the resolutions was not to find out who was not fighting terrorism for lack of political will but stipulated what Member States should do in such areas as legislation and border control.  The task of the CTC was to monitor whether Member States were implementing the binding decisions in resolution 1373.  Such implementation was not easy she said, recalling that for Denmark it had been “a major headache”.

Mr. Motoc added that technical capacity should not be an excuse.  United Nations activity should be seen as complementary as to what national establishments were doing.  Most of the activities about which questions had been raised were for law-enforcement authorities’ address.  The Committees were not in the “naming and shaming” business.  However, the Committee could refer a blatant case of lack of political will to the Security Council.

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