OPENING DEBATE ON DRAFT CONVENTION FOR SUPPRESSION OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM, SIXTH COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR DEFINITION OF TERRORISM
OPENING DEBATE ON DRAFT CONVENTION FOR SUPPRESSION OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM, SIXTH COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR DEFINITION OF TERRORISM
OPENING DEBATE ON DRAFT CONVENTION FOR SUPPRESSION OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM, SIXTH COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR DEFINITION OF "TERRORISM"19981111 Russian Federation says Draft Text Represents Effort to Design First Pre-emptive International Anti-Terrorism Instrument
Effective address of terrorism, which was no longer a local problem, required agreement on what it was States were dealing with, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania told the Sixth Committee (Legal) this morning as it began its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism.
"We cannot keep running away from a definition of the subject matter", the representative added. Even without a definition, what happened in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi, as had happened too often elsewhere, was purely and simply criminal conduct whose perpetrators, associates and sympathizers were equally culpable. The attacks against his country and Kenya, underlined the fact that terrorism must be seen as an international phenomenon and responses to it must be global and comprehensive, he said.
The focus of today's discussion was a draft text of a convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, which was part of an effort to develop a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism.
The use of weapons of mass destruction or radioactive materials could, more than anything else, achieve an "immediate dramatic impact", which was usually the goal of terrorists, the representative of the Russian Federation said. An attack on a nuclear power plant by a group of lightly armed terrorists or their threat to use nuclear weapons or materials, whether substantiated or not, would have an enormous psychological impact, as well as inspire fear and hysteria. The draft convention on nuclear terrorism -- originally submitted by the Russian Federation -- was particularly significant in that it was the first international legal instrument to be elaborated on anti-terrorist activities which was specially designed as a "pre-emptive instrument".
Philippe Kirsch, (Canada), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and the working group of the Sixth Committee, which had contributed to the elaboration of the revised draft convention before the Committee, said the new legal
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instrument was unique amongst counter-terrorism instruments in that it was proactive, rather than reactive. Its conceptual approach reflected that of the eleven previous counter-terrorism instruments, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The draft defined certain offences and required States to criminalize them. It would subject offenders to a prosecute-or-extradite scheme. Provisions on mutual assistance, return of materials, and other forms of cooperation were also included.
A French proposal for the drafting of a convention for the suppression of terrorist financing was supported by several speakers. The power and the capacity to do harm by international terrorists depended on their financing, the representative of France said, pointing out that the proposal was aimed at filling the legal gap in that area.
The representative of China said that in addition to strengthening cooperation and adopting practical measures, the international community should undertake in-depth studies into the root causes of the rise and development of international terrorism. Qatar called for an international mechanism to deal with the root causes of terrorism.
The representative of the Sudan said that United States justifications for its attack against the Al-Shifa factory in Khartoum had fallen apart and were devoid of any legal soundness or moral grounds. "The Government and people of the Sudan have spared no effort in desperately attempting to stretch a hand of friendship and cooperation to the Government and people of the United States", he told the Committee. Also, the United States was trying to prevent the Security Council from discussing Sudan's complaint and request for a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate the attack.
The representative of the United States, in exercise of right of reply, said the United States had hoped that Sudan would end its support for terrorists and terrorist groups. The United States, in its attack on the chemical factory, had acted in self-defence. The call by the Sudan for a fact-finding mission was an attempt to divert attention from its support for terrorism.
The representative of the Sudan, also exercising his right of reply, questioned whether the United States refusal for a dialogue meant that it wished to continue its current policies towards Sudan. The double standard of the United States led to questions about its attitude towards Islam.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Panama (on behalf of the Rio Group), Austria (on behalf of the European Union and its associated States), Zimbabwe (for the Non-Aligned Movement), Algeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Myanmar and Republic of Korea.
The Committee will meet again this afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism.
Committee Work Programme
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to review a revised draft text of a convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism submitted to it by a Committee working group, as part of its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism.
The working group was established by the Sixth Committee on 16 September to follow-up the work on elaborating such a convention carried out by the Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee during a 10-day meeting in February. The Ad Hoc Committee was established by the Assembly in 1996, by its resolution 51/210, to elaborate the convention on suppression of nuclear terrorism, as well as a convention for the suppression of terrorist bombings. The first session of the Ad Hoc Committee was dedicated to the drafting of the convention on terrorist bombing, which was adopted in 1997 by the Assembly as the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing. Last year, the Assembly decided that the Ad Hoc Committee would continue into 1999 its efforts to further develop a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism.
The report of the Ad Hoc Committee's second session -- dedicated to the review of a draft convention to suppress nuclear terrorism submitted by the Russian Federation -- is also before the Committee (document A/53/37). The Ad Hoc Committee first considered the definition of the material and offenses to be covered under the proposed convention, with a view to clarifying its necessity, as well as its objectives and substantive scope. Without prejudice to the question of whether a new convention should be developed, the Committee also carried out a first reading of substantive elements of the draft text.
The proposed convention is intended to fill the gaps left by existing instruments and seeks to cover, to the broadest extent possible, targets, forms and manifestations of acts of nuclear terrorism. It envisions a wide range of measures for combatting nuclear terrorism, including post-crisis measures, such as the return of a broad range of radioactive material and devices to the rightful owners.
Besides the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the report mentions such existing anti-terrorist instruments as the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. The debate in the Ad Hoc Committee concentrated on the issues of the initial identification of gaps in the existing conventions; possible overlap between the provisions of the proposed convention and existing legal instruments; their distinguishing features; and the forum for developing the new instrument.
The report further states that during the discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee, it was suggested that the extremely grave consequences of acts of
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nuclear terrorism and the widespread fear that could be generated by their threats called for the immediate establishment of an effective legal regime. The proposed convention would provide yet another avenue of cooperation for suppressing one of the most serious threats of terrorism.
Regarding the nature of the instrument to be drafted, some delegations proposed that the new instrument be adopted in the form of a protocol or amendment to the 1980 Convention, which would prevent derogation from or duplication of that Convention. The 1980 Convention provides for a review conference for adopting such a protocol or amendment. Other delegations, however, expressed preference for a separate convention, noting the limited scope of application of the 1980 Convention and the limited number of States Parties in comparison with the membership of the United Nations.
Regarding its future work, the Ad Hoc Committee states that further analysis was required by it to determine the possible impact of the proposed convention on the existing international instruments. The new regime should not affect existing obligations under the United Nations Charter or international humanitarian law, and care should be taken to ensure the rights of States to peaceful and other lawful uses of nuclear energy, the Committee reports.
The report of the working group of the Sixth Committee (document A/C.6/53/L.4) before the Committee, reviews its work during the 13 meetings convened between 28 September and 9 October. The working group began discussion on a paper prepared by the Friends of the Chairman, composed of the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Committee. Discussion, informal consultations and review of proposals and amendments tabled before the working group led to the drafting of the revised text now before the Sixth Committee. In addition to summary of deliberations, the report contains the text of the revised draft convention, made up of 28 draft articles.
At its last meeting, the working group decided to forward its report to the Sixth Committee on the understanding that several delegations had expressed concerns on certain provisions of the draft convention, including the scope of application.
Among a number of other documents before the Sixth Committee is a report of the Secretary-General (document A/53/314 and Add.1) in response to General Assembly resolution 50/53 of 11 December 1995 which requested him to follow-up closely on the implementation of the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism (resolution 49/60 of 9 December 1994). He was also asked to submit an annual report on the implementation of a provision of the Declaration and on the views of States on the topic.
The report contains responses from Austria, Belarus, China, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Iceland, Libya, Malawi, Mexico, Netherlands, New
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Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Senegal, and Ukraine. Information was also received from the following international organizations: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Council of Europe, and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
The report also lists 14 global or regional treaties pertaining to the subject of international terrorism.
PHILIPPE KIRSCH (Canada), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and the working group of the Sixth Committee, said the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee in 1997 formed part of a package of practical initiatives to strengthen the international legal framework to fight terrorism.
He said there was a widely shared view in the Ad Hoc Committee that a future instrument should complement, and be consistent with, those that already existed, with particular reference to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. There was also large support for the proposition that, in the area of classical international criminal law, the new instrument should largely draw on the provisions of the Terrorist Bombings Convention, which was the latest anti-terrorist instrument to be developed and, indeed, very new. That proposition was without prejudice to the possibility of departing from some of its provisions if there were good reasons to do so. On the other hand, he said, discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee reflected a need to do considerably more work on provisions that were specific to nuclear terrorism.
In the light of those discussions, he said members of the Bureau of the Ad Hoc Committee prepared a new text for most, but not all, of the provisions of a new convention. The text was tabled in the working group as a discussion paper presented by the "Friends of the Chairman", and served as a basis for discussion. The proposed new legal instrument was unique amongst counter- terrorism instruments in that it was proactive, rather than reactive, he said. Its conceptual approach reflected that of the eleven previous counter- terrorism instruments, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. That new legal instrument defined certain offences; required that States criminalize those if they had not done so already; and made offenders subject to a prosecute-or-extradite scheme. It also contained provisions on mutual assistance, return of materials, and other forms of cooperation.
HERNAN TEJEIRA (Panama), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said terrorist actions were serious threats to peace. They threatened the stability of international relations and endangered the security of States.
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It was vital to intensify international cooperation to combat terrorism in all its manifestations. The Rio Group had worked to strengthen judicial cooperation to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, traffic in arms and other illicit activities, he said. Such strengthening of cooperation and solidarity was the only effective method for combating terrorist acts. He was convinced that any action at the international level must be in complete accordance with existing international law. The Rio Group supported the fight against terrorism through bilateral and multilateral instruments that respected the sovereignty and jurisdiction of each State.
LILLY SUCHARIPA-BEHRMANN (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union and the associate States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Cyprus, Iceland and Norway, said those nations unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and they had taken decisive action to fight it. In its external relations, the European Union also continued to coordinate efforts and to collaborate with other States in the fight against terrorism.
The text of the draft convention embodied in the report of the working group could be regarded as generally acceptable, she said. A number of delegations had, however, expressed concerns on certain provisions, including the scope of application. She said the European Union hoped that those concerns could soon be overcome, and it looked forward to further constructive discussions of the issue. It hoped work on the draft convention would be concluded successfully. When done, the instrument would represent a further step forward in combating terrorism.
In the hope that the compendium of national laws and regulations concerning terrorism would be published soon, she said the European Union supported the Secretary-General's request to those States which had not yet provided information on their national laws and regulations to do so.
MACHIVENYIKA TOBIAS MAPURANGA (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that while great progress had been made in the preparation of the draft convention, member States of the Non-Aligned Movement remained concerned about a few areas. Those concerns included, but were not limited to, aspects of the draft preamble and article 1, containing definitions of terms, and article 4, addressing activities of armed forces in armed conflict. A number of proposals had been made by Non-Aligned Movement members, yet they had not been reflected in the current draft. It was, therefore, necessary to allow more time for further consideration of the draft convention.
He assured the Committee that the non-aligned States were firmly committed to adopting all appropriate measures to eliminate international terrorism. Further, they were committed to ensuring that international instruments adopted in the field enjoyed the widest support possible. They
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were also open to any suggestions or ideas on how to ensure that the present draft convention enjoyed the widest acceptance.
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the evil of terrorism, one of the most dangerous and deadly challenges to global security, could be effectively challenged only through joint efforts by the entire international community. Such measures must be carried out exclusively on the basis of international law, including international legal instruments already elaborated. "We do not accept one-sided extraterritorial use of force against terrorists. This, in essence, is tantamount to taking the law into one's own hands and it sets a dangerous precedent in international practice", he told the Committee.
Russia supported international cooperation on the global, regional and national levels, free from the residue of political and ideological confrontation of the past, he said. Such was precisely the course the United Nations had chosen to take. The 1996 decision to establish the Ad Hoc Committee for the elaboration of new anti-terrorist instruments, thus filling in the existing gaps in international law, was a turning point in United Nations activities to suppress terrorism. The Russian draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism was, in his view, mature enough to be elaborated.
The use of weapons of mass destruction or radioactive materials could, more than anything else, achieve an "immediate dramatic impact" which was usually the goal of terrorists. Thus, an attack on a nuclear power plant by a group of lightly armed terrorists or their threat to use nuclear weapons or materials, whether substantiated or not, would have an enormous psychological impact, as well as inspire fear and hysteria. That threat was not a hypothetical one; the international community had more than once encountered such cases.
The draft was particularly significant in that it was the first international legal instrument in the area if anti-terrorist activities which was specially designed as a "pre-emptive instrument". It stipulated efficient mechanisms of interaction between States law enforcement and judicature, including legal assistance, extradition and information exchange. It provided a good basis for consensus adoption of the convention at the current General Assembly. He welcomed the initiative of France on development of a convention for the suppression of financing of terrorist activities.
ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said his country shared the view of other members of the international community that elimination of terrorism could only be achieved by the determination and insistence that such acts were not justifiable and that those acts should be condemned, regardless of whether they were committed by a State, an individual or a group. Acting outside the umbrella of international legitimacy was a denunciation of international
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unanimity and an express call to discard the United Nations Charter. It was a dangerous prelude to power politics and the prevalence of rules of the jungle.
The Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the African Group, the Arab Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, had strongly condemned the barbaric American aggression against the pharmaceutical and veterinary factory in Khartoum, he continued. American justifications for the attacks had fallen apart and became devoid of any legal soundness or moral grounds. The internal response within the United States itself had confirmed that the American Administration was acting only on its behalf when it launched the attack.
The conflicting statements of senior American officials on the production of the Al-Shifa plant, on its financing, and its relationship with Usama Bin Laden, left no doubt that the officials had resorted to continuous fabrication to cover up their unwarranted act of aggression. After quoting an American official statement in The New York Times on the inadequacy of intelligence about the Sudan, he said that decisions had been taken under preconceived positions and false conceptions about the Sudan and lacked a factual basis. The attack on the plant had disclosed a series of unfounded allegations which the American Administration was propagating against the Sudan: allegations devoid of fact and driven by a dubious agenda. "The Government and people of the Sudan have spared no effort in desperately attempting to stretch a hand of friendship and cooperation to the Government and people of the United States. For us, the people of the United States are a creative and great people whose scientific and economic achievements deserve our appreciation, respect and admiration", he told the Committee.
The Sudan had tried to open the closed doors but the call for dialogue had gone unheeded, he said. The President of the Sudan had sent several rebuffed messages to the American President, expressing a desire to engage in dialogue to settle open issues. Invitations to the Committee on Religious Freedom of the United States State Department to visit the Sudan and to verify certain information were also rejected. "Above all of that, at the request of the American Government, the Sudan expelled Usama Bin Laden in 1996 to a place approved of by the American Government. All of which stands to prove the willingness of my country to cooperate seriously and honestly", he said.
After the strike, he said the Sudan had requested the establishment of a fact-finding mission by the United Nations. Despite what he said was support for the mission from most of the States worldwide, the United States had rejected the request and was trying to prevent the Security Council from discussing the Sudan's complaint and request. At the same time, the United States was trying to pressure the Council to discuss the humanitarian situation in the Sudan.
The destruction of the factory had created a very difficult humanitarian situation, further complicating situations caused by floods and the internal
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conflict in the south. The conflict was exacerbated by the United States provision of arms and training. Questioning whether the United States was serious in its bid to fight terrorism, or merely using the issue to score political gains, he asked why the United States applied double standards. "Why is it always targeting Islam and Muslims? What is its position regarding the crash of a plane that was carrying chemicals used in the manufacture of deadly sarin nerve gas imported from the United States itself six years ago?", he questioned. The victims of Nairobi and Darussalam were innocent victims of acts of terrorism committed by individual criminals and the victims of the Al-Shifa factory were innocent victims of a terrorist act by a super-Power, he said. "The lesson we take from history is that a powerful, strong State can never be in conflict with the truth. He who shuns the truth is, in fact, not strong", he said.
FRANÇOIS ALABRUNE (France) said the draft text presented by the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee was acceptable to his delegation, which hoped that the General Assembly could adopt it by the end of the year. His delegation was also convinced of the need for the Ad Hoc Committee to continue to fulfil its mandate to develop a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism. He recalled the proposal made by the French Foreign Minister before the General Assembly on 23 September for negotiations on a draft convention for suppression of terrorist financing. The power and the capacity to do harm through international terrorists depended on their financing. The French proposal was aimed at filling the legal gap in that area, and his delegation hoped that work on the draft convention on suppression of terrorist financing could start next year.
He said the draft convention defined the term "financing", the nature of contributions, financing of activities that endangered lives and property; and contributions made in good faith. Each State party would be required to adopt measures to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law, the offences set forth in the draft convention and arrest perpetrators for prosecution. His delegation would welcome views on the French proposal. He hoped work on the proposal would be accorded equal weight as those on the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and the Convention for Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. A wrong signal would be sent if that was not done, he said.
AHCENE KERMA (Algeria) said collective action was needed to combat the new challenges posed by international terrorism. The manifestations of international terrorism were such that individual action by States was not enough. Cooperation and international solidarity were the only way to approach the issue. The international community must act vigorously towards that end.
All international forums should be mobilized to undertake concrete action to combat international terrorism, he said. He again said terrorism
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was a global phenomenon, requiring a global response. The time had come for such a response. An international legal framework was necessary. He hoped this year would see the adoption of the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. There was an urgent need to conclude that convention. The United Nations must continue to coordinate action to combat international terrorism, he said.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said that Pakistan, itself being a victim of terrorist acts, including cross-border terrorism, fully understood the implications of the menace of international terrorism. "We are followers of a religion of peace and universal brotherhood. Our religion is a way of life... We condemn terrorism wherever perpetrated, whether by individuals groups or by States", he said. Terrorism was repugnant, irrespective of the motivation involved, he added.
While Pakistan concurred with many of the provisions in the revised text, it was unable to withdraw its reservations on some provisions of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, nor accept the incorporation of those aspects into the draft text under consideration, he said. The exception granted to the armed forces in the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings had reappeared in under several articles of the current draft convention.
Those articles sanctified State terrorism, he said. Terrorist activities of military forces of the State or State terrorism could not be excluded from the scope of any convention. His most crucial reservation concerned the inclusion of obligations imposed by the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) into the present draft convention. Neither did he find it appropriate that only 22 ratifications, out of an organization of 185 countries, were required for entry into force of the draft convention.
He was aware that countries' positions differed on those points. He therefore supported the view of Zimbabwe expressed on behalf of the Non- Aligned Movement, that action on the draft convention be delayed pending further consultations. As one Convention had already been negotiated and another was under consideration, it was now time to take up agreement on a legal definition of terrorism. In that context, due attention must be paid to a definition of terrorism which differentiated it from the legitimate struggle of people under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation, for self- determination and national liberation.
Pakistan would not be a party to any attempt to sanctify State terrorism, particularly when it was perpetrated against liberation movements, he said. "This is a matter of the utmost concern to the Government and people of Pakistan who most painfully observe perpetration of this policy in the
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Indian-held Kashmir everyday", he said. Pakistan's combat against international terrorism would continue to be guided by those principles.
SHEIKH KHALED BIN HAMED AL-THANI (Qatar) condemned all forms of terrorism which, he said, ran counter to the Islamic religion. He drew a distinction between legitimate struggle for self-determination and acts of terrorism. He said Arab States had adopted a convention against terrorism aimed, among other things, at preventing the distortion of the Islamic religion, which was a tolerant religion. An international mechanism was required to deal with the root causes of terrorism. There was also a need to define terrorism in order to differentiate it from the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination. His delegation supported convening an international conference on the subject and urged the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the proposal for discussion by the General Assembly.
AHMED ABDULLAH AL-AKWAA (Yemen) said no State could claim to be able to confront international terrorism alone. The consequences of international terrorism were felt more in the developing world which did not have the resources to combat it. Restricting the effects of terrorism was possible only if international efforts were increased. He reiterated his country's condemnation of international terrorism, regardless of its objectives and sources. Yemen was adapting its legislation to conform with international standards in dealing with the problem of terrorism. It was also studying the possibility of signing, or acceding to, instruments relating to terrorism that it had not become party to.
He said human rights could not be used as a pretext for not punishing terrorists. A balance should be struck between the general interests of society and those of criminals. His delegation supported the French proposal for a draft convention for the suppression of financing of terrorist activities. The proposal was constructive and his delegation hoped it would be taken up during the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly.
With regard to the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, he said the final text should be global in nature and reflect concerns expressed by delegations in the working group. His delegation supported the statement by Zimbabwe on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
MYINT KYI (Myanmar) said international terrorism had become a problem of great magnitude and urgency. It was increasingly recognized as undermining international stability and peace. The problem posed a challenge for those working to devise effective measures to combat the problem. The response evolving at the United Nations and through international law was directed at worldwide efforts to establish a standard of action to be taken by States. That effort had taken the form of international conventions aimed at ensuring uniformity of actions by the greatest possible number of States. He supported
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the General Assembly call for all States to enact domestic legislation to implement the provisions of the conventions. Such a step would ensure that the jurisdiction of their Courts enable them to bring to trial the perpetrators of terrorist acts, and allow for cooperation with other States and relevant international and regional organizations.
CHO CHANG-BEOM (Republic of Korea) said terrorists exploited modern technology to commit their heinous crimes. The increasingly sophisticated tactics of terrorism highlighted the need for a new logic for combating terrorism based, not only on punishment once a crime had taken place, but also on prevention and intense cooperation between States. The risk of nuclear terrorism might always have been a possibility, but the changed security environment in the post-cold war era had increased the perils of nuclear proliferation.
Having been the victims of flagrant international terrorism, the Republic of Korea strongly condemned all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, whenever and by whoever committed, he said. Today, terrorism was growing dangerously more international and complex as a result of its links to organized crime, illegal arms trade and drug trafficking. Countries should take measures, domestically and internationally, to deal with the acquisition of nuclear materials by the wrong parties.
The draft convention on nuclear terrorism was a positive step forward, he said. However, certain issues in the current draft required clarification, for example, the non-applicability to military activities. Also, in implementing the convention, it was vital to use the expertise and experience of the IAEA regarding nuclear matters.
GAO FENG (China) said in recent years, frequent acts of terrorism, including the terrorist bombings in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania in particular, had brought human and material losses to innocent civilians. Such acts gravely jeopardized human society and national, political and economic order. They also constituted a major source of danger to international peace and security. "We are against resorting to terrorist acts as a means to achieving political ends . We are against any terrorist acts of violence by any State, organization group or individual in contravention of recognized norms of international law", he said. At the same time, China opposed all actions in the name of combatting international terrorism that violated the basic principles of international law by infringing upon the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and interfering in the internal affairs of States.
In addition to strengthening international cooperation and adopting practical measures, the international community should undertake in-depth studies about the root causes of international terrorism, as well as its social basis, he said. China had strengthened its cooperation, in particular,
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with countries concerned with investigations, collection of evidence, exchanges of information and extradition. China had also perfected its domestic laws and regulations to provide a legal basis for efforts to prevent, combat and suppress international terrorism.
DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said his Government was grateful for the financial and material support extended to it following the terrorist attack on the United States Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam on 7 August. Thanks to international cooperation and partnership, the investigation into the attack and a similar one on the United States Embassy in Nairobi had led to the arrests of some suspects against whom proceedings had been instituted. His country's limited capabilities to deal with the problem underscored the importance of examination of urgent measures such as training efforts proposed by the General Assembly in 1994.
The attacks against his country and Kenya underlined the fact that terrorism must be seen as an international phenomenon and responses to it must be global and comprehensive, he said. His delegation would support continued efforts to reach an acceptable draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. It would welcome the proposal on exploring the possibility of elaborating a draft convention for the suppression of terrorist financing.
Since terrorism was no longer a local problem, developing an effective strategy required agreement on what it was States were dealing with, he said. "We cannot keep running away from a definition of the subject matter", he said. Even without a definition, he said what happened in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi, as had happened too often elsewhere, was purely and simply criminal conduct whose perpetrators, associates and sympathizers were equally culpable.
Rights of Reply
CAROLYN WILLSON (United States), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the representative of the Sudan had focused attention in his statement on United States actions against his country. The United States had hoped that the Sudan would end its support for terrorists and terrorist groups. The United States in its attack on the chemical factory had acted in self-defence. The call by the Sudan for a fact-finding mission was an attempt to divert attention from its support for terrorism. She rejected completely the allegation that the action was targeted at Islam. She stressed that the United States actions were not against the Islamic religion.
OMER DAHAB FODAL MOHAMED (Sudan) said he had hoped that the representative of the United States would have responded to his statement. His country had tried unsuccessfully in the past three years to dialogue at the highest level with the United States. Why had the United States refused the overtures for a dialogue? he asked. Did that mean it wished to continue its current policies towards Sudan? he asked. How could the charges made
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against the Sudan be resolved? He reaffirmed that the means to settle any problem was to resort to wisdom and to the United Nations. The double standard of the United States led to the questions about its attitude towards Islam.
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