1 December 2005 Long an advocate of completing a treaty against all forms of terrorism by the end of this year, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced disappointment over the failure of the General Assembly's committee on legal affairs to reach agreement on a draft comprehensive convention.
On Tuesday, the Sixth Committee adopted a draft resolution calling for the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism to reconvene in February to resume its elaboration of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which has encountered differences among Member States over inclusion of issues ranging from the battle against occupation to the actions of regular armed forces.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said he intended to consult with the chairman of the Sixth Committee and representatives of member states to see if there are ways for him to assist their efforts to agree on and conclude the convention during the General Assembly's 60th session, which ends next September, as agreed by heads of state and government at last September's UN World Summit.
Only three weeks ago, in his latest push for speedy conclusion while visiting the Jordanian capital of Amman, where suicide bombers had just killed some 60 people and injured more than 100 others in an attack on hotels, he said adoption of a convention by 31 December "will be a wonderful New Year's gift to the peoples of the world."
Finalizing the treaty has been elusive. A major sticking point has been the issue of exempting armed resistance groups involved in struggles against colonial domination and foreign occupation, on which General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said several key countries had taken hard positions.
The Assembly still has to adopt the Sixth Committee's draft and Mr. Eliasson said he was not giving up on the possibility of reaching an agreement this year. But, he added, "it is looking increasingly unlikely."
He said he would continue to consult with the Committee's Chair but it was more likely that the search for an agreement would be deferred until February, as laid out in the draft.
In his statement Mr. Annan urged all member states that had not yet done so to become parties to the existing 13 conventions on different types of terrorism. He voiced the hope that the Assembly would expedite adoption and implementation a strategy to promote comprehensive, coordinated and consistent responses to terrorism, developed from the elements he identified at an international meeting last March in Madrid.
Then, at the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security in Madrid, he outlined what he called the "five D's" strategy: dissuading the disaffected from choosing the tactic, denying terrorists the means to carry out attacks, deterring state support, developing state preventive capacity and defending human rights in the struggle against the scourge.
Today, he said he stood ready to amplify and further refine those elements if so requested by the Assembly.
"In the meantime he is confident that the Security Council is ready to take any further measures that are necessary to deal with the threat of international terrorism, which continues to cause death and suffering to innocent people in many different parts of the world," the statement concluded.