United Nations Headquarters
New York, 21 May 2008

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am pleased to welcome you today to an informal briefing of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

Last week’s terrorist attacks in India serve as a distressingly stark reminder that terrorism continues to be one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, affecting us all. There can be no justification for this senseless and indiscriminate use of violence. It is our duty to counter it in a unified and concerted manner.

The Task Force was established three years ago by the Secretary-General to ensure overall co-ordination and coherence in the United Nations system’s counter-terrorism efforts. It brings together 24 different entities with a view to advance the implementation of the Strategy.

Today, we will hear briefings from all working groups of the Task Force. During the past year and a half, the working groups have identified areas of specific interest where the UN can have added value. I am pleased to note that these collaborative efforts seek to provide results for Member States that are concrete and practical.

It is also essential that these efforts will be undertaken in close cooperation with member states, regional organisations and civil society. Therefore we need continuously to enhance interaction and transparency and I hope the meeting today will also serve that end.

One of the crucial issues is resources. The Task Force has no standing resources on its own; therefore the Secretariat and Member States must resolve this issue in a practical way. I commend the Governments for providing funding for various working groups, but it is also important to ensure a stable and sustainable central support for the Task Force. Indeed, there is a need to complete the institutionalisation of the Task Force, as supported by the General Assembly when it adopted the Strategy.

As President of the General Assembly I regard the adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as an important achievement of this Assembly and I have made the implementation of it as one of the priorities of this session. Last December we had a mid-term stocktaking of the implementation efforts and now I am pleased to announce that the plenary meeting of the General Assembly to review the implementation of the Strategy will take place on 4 September this year.

I call on you to use that occasion to elaborate and expand on your own initiatives taken either nationally, through regional partners or internationally to put the commitments of the Strategy into action.

It is my belief that the outcome of the meeting should send a strong and unified political message of this Assembly against terrorism. It is essential to maintain the integrity of the Strategy as all parts are indispensable to our counter-terrorism efforts. We must stay true to our commitments and build on the results achieved so far.

Member States must also decide how to proceed with the Strategy after the meeting of the General Assembly. When adopting the Strategy in 2006, the General Assembly decided on the follow-up for this session only and we must now determine the best way forward. These and other issues are at the core of preparations we must undertake before the meeting in September.

I intend to appoint a facilitator in the coming weeks to consult with Member States on the possible outcome of the plenary meeting of the General Assembly in September. I urge all Member States to work constructively towards a successful meeting in September.

I wish you an informative briefing and a lively dialogue.

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