CHAIRMAN OF SECURITY COUNCIL’S COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE DESCRIBES RECENT SUCCESS IN IMPLEMENTING COUNCIL’S ANTI-TERRORISM STRATEGY
CHAIRMAN OF SECURITY COUNCIL’S COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE DESCRIBES RECENT SUCCESS IN IMPLEMENTING COUNCIL’S ANTI-TERRORISM STRATEGY
4561st Meeting (AM)
CHAIRMAN OF SECURITY COUNCIL’S COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE DESCRIBES
RECENT SUCCESS IN IMPLEMENTING COUNCIL’S ANTI-TERRORISM STRATEGY
Cites Growing Awareness of Global Structure to Combat Terrorism,
Recognition of Responsibility to Follow Up Anti-Terrorism Resolution
The most important success of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to date was that it had directed widespread attention to the power of resolution 1373 (2001), Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), that body's Chairman, told the Security Council this morning.
Reporting on the latest phase of the Committee's work, he said a broad range of international institutions and regional and subregional organizations were now aware that there was a global structure for countering terrorism, into which they should fit their activities. The Committee had also contributed in bringing out the connection between terrorism and other forms of international organized crime.
Resolution 1373 (2001), unanimously adopted on 28 September in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States, sets out wide-ranging steps and strategies to combat international terrorism. The text established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor that resolution’s implementation and called on all States to report on actions they had taken to that end no later than
90 days from the resolution’s adoption.
The Chairman underscored that the Committee was not a law-enforcement agency, nor was it working on cases, but it had a strong interest in capacity-building. The fact that the vast majority of Member States were now engaged with the Committee in that exercise, and that all States recognized their responsibility to follow up resolution 1373 (2001), was a massive change from the situation that had existed when the Committee was formed.
A further indicator of the international community’s activity was the ratification of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, he said. Ratifications had risen by more than 15 per cent since last July. There were now 14 countries that had ratified all 12 conventions, whereas only Botswana and the United Kingdom had done so by 11 September.
Expressing their appreciation for the Committee's work thus far, speakers endorsed its proposed work programme for the next 90 days. Noting that a small number of States had yet to submit their reports, delegations stated that the next phase of the Committee’s work should focus on the provision of financial and technical assistance to those governments requesting it.
The United States delegate said the Committee’s ultimate success would be determined by how far the States possessing the capacity to provide assistance were willing to do so. A substantial number of such countries had yet to list themselves in the Committee’s directory of assistance providers. Perhaps some of those countries, particularly the sophisticated financial centres, did not usually think of themselves as assistance providers, but they should provide such assistance as technical training.
Underlining the importance of the role played by regional and subregional, as well as functional, organizations in collective efforts to implement resolution 1373 (2001), he said some of them had already begun assisting in monitoring efforts in their respective regions. It was important to remember that the resolution and the Committee had no time limits and would continue until the Council was satisfied with the resolution’s implementation.
France's representative said the results that the Committee had achieved in a few months demonstrated an ability to act as a team, both within the Council membership and in the network of international organizations. Regional and technical organizations had been mobilized under the Committee, which ensured the necessary consistency in carrying out the work of the commonwealth of nations.
The second phase of the Committee’s work would be more targeted towards identifying the areas in which each country must improve in its legislation, administration and technical cooperation, he said. The second phase was crucial and would be more concrete, enabling the world to try to improve in each successive stage of the fight against terrorism through the steps taken by all.
Speakers also emphasized that, in carrying out its mandate, the Committee must respect human rights, international law and the United Nations Charter. Ireland’s representative said that the fight against international terrorism could never be at the expense of human rights. “If we go down that road -- and it is a slippery road -- then we are lost and so are the core values that the United Nations stands for”, he added.
Spain's representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the fight against terrorism must respect human rights and the rule of law. When taking counter-terrorism measures, States should not condone acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians, nor use counter-terrorism as a pretext for political oppression.
Costa Rica's representative, speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, stressed that the Committee should be able to meet its growing practical and financial requirements. So far, resources earmarked for other mandates had been used to satisfy its needs, which was not a sustainable solution, given the existence of other programmes of equal importance to the international community. The Committee must have its own resources, he added.
The Council also heard from the representatives of Singapore, Guinea, Norway, Mexico, Cameroon, China, Russian Federation, Colombia, Mauritius, Bulgaria and Syria.
Also speaking was the representative of Brunei Darussalam (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)).
The meeting began at 10:45 a.m. and adjourned at 12:55 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to discuss threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, said that, in the nine months that the body had been in operation, it had received 160 reports from United Nations Member States and four others. It had completed its review of 127 of those and was working hard to complete the remainder. It was also following up with the 29 States that had not yet submitted reports. In the coming period, the Committee would focus on reviewing for a second time the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) in the States that had submitted a further report.
He said the Committee intended to set out recommendations about the action needed to improve implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and would be looking
to many States to submit a third report setting out their response to those recommendations and including a timetable for action. In addition, the Committee’s team of experts would encourage the provision of assistance in areas covered by resolution 1373 (2001) and inform providers about implementation gaps as such information emerged through the review process, with a view to encouraging providers to develop new programmes to meet those needs.
The Committee’s outreach to international and regional organizations had intensified since the last briefing to the Council, he said. The message to regional players was fourfold. They must develop permanent mechanisms for dealing with terrorism in accordance with their respective mandate. They should use those mechanisms to discuss counter-terrorism on a regional level, because no State was secure from that threat if its neighbour was a back-marker. Many regional organizations were well placed to facilitate the sharing of expertise and best practices within a region, where a common culture and history often made the transfer of expertise easiest.
He said the Committee’s most important success to date was to direct very widespread attention to the power of resolution 1373 (2001). A broad range of international institutions and regional and subregional organizations were now aware that there was a global structure for countering terrorism, into which they would be well advised to fit their activities. The Committee had also contributed in bringing out the connection between terrorism and other forms of international organized crime.
The Committee was not a law-enforcement agency, nor was it working on cases, he pointed out. But, it had a strong interest in capacity-building. The fact that the vast majority of Member States were now engaged with the Committee in that exercise, and that all States recognized their responsibility to follow up resolution 1373 (2001), was a massive change from the situation that had existed when the Committee was formed. A further indicator of the international community’s activity was the ratification of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
He said ratifications had risen by more than 15 per cent since last July. There were now 14 countries that had ratified all 12 conventions, whereas only Botswana and the United Kingdom had done so by 11 September. The Committee urged all States to bring forward ratification of those instruments, which was not only a requirement of resolution 1373 (2001), but also an indication that States were beginning to build up the network of legislation required for effective action.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) first commended the Committee, its Chairman and Vice-Chairmen for showing that a United Nations committee could actually make a difference. Also, he reiterated Singapore’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and to sharing its experiences with others to enhance efforts and capacity to fight terrorism, particularly with other countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He agreed with Ambassador Greenstock that the Committee should not declare any Member State fully compliant with resolution 1373 (2001).
He wondered whether the Committee could try to work out criteria so that Member States could assess their performance against some sort of benchmark. Also, what was a good analogy to describe the nature of the work of the Committee? It was important, at the annual review of the resolution, to have the larger participation of all Member States. When States participated at that meeting, what would the Committee like them to bring to the table? he asked.
BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) said that nine months had gone by since the establishment of the Committee. During that period, it had made many noteworthy efforts. The submission of more than 150 reports, the majority of them having been examined, was promising for the coordination of future activities. There was no doubt that, through its work, the Committee had been able to highlight the interdependence between terrorism and other kinds of organized crime. The coordination of assistance was a matter of priority, beginning with identifying the type of assistance available. In that regard, the contacts already established with providers of assistance was welcome. He hoped that the work of the panel of experts would continue, and he expressed the need for representation of all regions in that regard. He also expressed support for the new work programme of the Committee.
JOHN NEGROPONTE (United States), noting that the second stage of the Committee’s work was now under way, reiterated the importance of all States abiding by their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001), including the timely submission of reports. The second review would largely determine the impact that the Committee would have in the fight against terrorism.
He stressed that the Committee must focus on those States lacking the capacity and/or the will to implement resolution 1373 (2001). In its second response to national reports, the Committee must identify gaps in information, as well as what those States needed to do in order to comply with the resolution. Where a State needed assistance, the Committee should make efforts to ensure that it got that assistance.
Regardless of the Committee’s success in identifying States lacking capacity, its ultimate success would be determined by how far the States possessing the capacity to provide assistance were willing to do so, he said. A substantial number of such countries had yet to list themselves in the Committee’s directory of assistance providers. Perhaps some of those countries, particularly the sophisticated financial centres, did not usually think of themselves as assistance providers, but they should provide such assistance as technical training.
The United States agreed with the importance placed on the role played by regional and subregional, as well as functional, organizations in collective efforts to implement resolution 1373 (2001), he said. Some of them had already begun assisting in monitoring efforts undertaken in their respective regions. It was important to remember that the resolution and the Committee had no time limits and would continue until the Council was satisfied with the resolution’s implementation. He announced that yesterday the United States had deposited the ratification instruments of the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, the last conventions to which it had not previously become a party.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said that he fully shared the aims and objectives outlined by the Committee Chairman for the next 90-day working period. Many States were in the process of finalizing their second report to the Committee. Norway had recently adopted a legislative package designed to combat terrorist acts and the financing of terrorism. Those measures provided the basis for its second report to the Committee. At the same time, the work of the Committee and its experts, as well as in other international bodies, had, to a large extent, inspired the legislative process in his country.
Norway remained focused on the need to assist States in their efforts to implement resolution 1373 (2001), he said. That was a priority for the Committee. Norway and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) recently agreed on a cooperation programme to support the implementation of resolution 1373 in the OAU member States. This year, Norway would make available approximately $210,000 for the project. It was also funding a project to support strengthened cooperation between the countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) in fighting terrorism in the southern African region. Norwegian efforts to combat terrorism, he added, would continue to be broad based, including political, legal, diplomatic and economic measures.
ROBERTA LAJOUS (Mexico) said that the creation of the Committee had given vigorous impetus to the efforts of the international community and the United Nations in combating terrorism. Although it was premature to come to conclusions based on preliminary results, there was no doubt that the Committee had encouraged States to carry out in-depth analyses of their capacity to combat terrorism. Another result of the preparation of national reports had been the wide dissemination of resolution 1373 (2001) in countries.
During the debate held in April on the issue, her delegation had outlined the five premises that should guide the Council and the Committee’s work in combating terrorism. Those premises were still valid. It was essential that the Committee work in transparency and cooperation. Also, it was fundamental to respect human rights, international law and the Charter. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the Committee now was the financial and technical support needed for fully implementing resolution 1373 (2001). The Committee had successfully ensured that the vast majority of States had complied through the submission of national reports. For others, the Committee could use dialogue to find the most viable means for each country to comply. In that regard, she welcomed Norway’s support to African nations.
It was appropriate, she said, to strengthen cooperation between the Committee and regional organizations, in order to expand the possibilities of providing support to States and helping them comply with the resolution. Regional organizations had been developing an array of activities to combat terrorism. Particularly fruitful had been the efforts undertaken by the Organization of American States (OAS), which had recently adopted the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. The Committee should assist in identifying additional measures that the international community could adopt to combat terrorism. The new instruments to be adopted, she emphasized, should put greater emphasis on prevention.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said that 11 September had raised a question as to whether the Council could cope with its new responsibilities. Today’s meeting showed that it had been able to cope in an exemplary manner. The results that the Committee had achieved in a few months demonstrated a determination to have total transparency among Member States and regional organizations, as well as an ability to act as a team both within the Council membership and in the network of international organizations.
He said regional and technical organizations had been mobilized under the Committee, which ensured the necessary consistency in carrying out the work of the commonwealth of nations. The second phase of the Committee’s work would be more targeted towards identifying the areas in which each country must improve in its legislation, administration and technical cooperation. The second phase was crucial and would be more concrete, enabling the world to try to improve in each successive stage of the fight against terrorism through the steps taken by all.
IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) said the global nature of terrorism necessarily required a concerted response from the international community. To combat it effectively, all States must cooperate constructively to meet the challenge of terrorism, which was the very denial of the right to life.
Urging all States, as well as international, regional and subregional organizations relating to counter-terrorism, to cooperate fully with the Committee, he also called upon the 29 States that had not yet done so to submit their reports. Only then could Member States celebrate the Committee’s upcoming first anniversary with the adoption of common measures to combat the scourge that continued to haunt the world.
He said his country fully endorsed the next phase of the Committee’s work, which would allow the implementation of specific recommendations. The Chairman’s regular briefings were an appropriate way of reassuring Member States of the Committee’s working methods. While Cameroon was pleased to note that the question of assistance was of primary concern to the Committee, it should ensure more timely provision of that assistance and systematically provide detailed and information on access to it.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that since the establishment of the Committee, it had done a great deal of effective work. The coordination and cooperation between the subcommittees were proceeding smoothly and the first phase of work had been fruitful. He expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Chairman and the panel of experts. Also, he endorsed the work programme for the next 90 days. In its second phase of work, the Committee would focus on those States needing assistance in complying with the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001). He appealed to those States who could provide such assistance to do so.
The fight against terrorism was a new task facing the Council in its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, he added. It was necessary for the Council to pay attention to the real problems arising from that fight and take measures to step up efforts to combat terrorism. The work of the Committee had laid a good foundation for international counter-terrorism efforts. Counter-terrorism capacity-building was a long-term effort, he stressed.
GERARD CORR (Ireland) emphasized that the Counter-Terrorism Committee must continue to avoid at all costs any simplistic approach of “you have succeeded, you have not succeeded” in its approach to States. Many of the detailed requirements, on banking or finance, for example, were extremely complex. Many States never had any need until now to put in place technical legislation in respect of financial flows or regulatory frameworks. All that would take time and effort.
Second, the Committee must continue to be vigilant in the extreme in not going beyond the letter and spirit of what was required in resolution 1373 (2001), he said. The Committee, and the wider United Nations, must complement the work of other institutions with their own specific mandates or roles in the struggle against terrorism. They must not duplicate that work or replace it. The role of the United Nations was to provide global legitimacy, to build a global consensus and to act as defenders and promoters of multilateralism. In the course of advancing in the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001), it might well be necessary at some stage for the Council to strengthen and protect that sense of legitimacy by a renewed mandate in the light of experiences so far.
Third, he continued, Ireland attached great importance to the generous support by the international community for the efforts of developing countries in implementing resolution 1373 (2001). He welcomed the work of the Committee to date in that area and hoped the concept of a trust fund would also be kept under review. Ireland, for its part, was in the process of compiling a list of experts who could be included in the Committee’s directory of advice and expertise in the areas of legislative and administrative practices, as set out in the eight sections of the resolution. It was also ready to support capacity-building in relation to the specified areas, through existing bilateral aid programmes at the country level, as well as by providing fellowships to participate in relevant courses or seminars in Ireland.
He added that the fight against international terrorism could never be at the expense of human rights. “If we go down that road -- and it is a slippery road -- then we are lost, and so are the core values that the United Nations stands for”, he said.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said, thanks to the work of the Committee, an unprecedented system to combat global terrorism had been established, through the analysis of reports coming to it and the search for ways and means to lend assistance to those States that needed assistance to comply with the resolution. There would be great promise with the establishment of the anti-terrorist centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He endorsed the work programme for the next 90 days. The Committee was entering a major phase of its work. It was still important to clarify the methods of work that would guide the Committee in eliminating perceived gaps and flaws. The guarantee of the success of that work was the dedication in the Council towards ensuring that the Committee would not function as a punitive body, or go beyond its mandate.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) thanked the Chairman for his report to the Council. He recognized the progress achieved during the first phase of the Committee’s work and endorsed the work programme for its next phase. He appealed to all Member States to come up with effective measures to combat terrorism. He highlighted the recent adoption of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, which was a sign of the importance and effectiveness of fighting terrorism by countries in the same regional group acting together. It was essential for the Committee to strengthen relations of cooperation and assistance with regional and subregional organizations. He highlighted the importance of the establishment of the guidelines on expertise and finances available to States, designed to support governments that requested assistance in implementing the resolution.
In its second phase, the Committee must focus on priority areas, such as the identification of the gaps existing in some States in the area of counter-terrorism instruments, he said. Recommendations should be proposed on measures to be adopted by States, particularly in the legislative and administrative spheres. He recognized the importance of the measures adopted by the majority of Member States in compliance with the resolution, as well as the activities carried out by some regional organizations. However, it was necessary to ask what else could be done within the context of the Committee to combat terrorism. It was also necessary to continue to seek out innovative solutions and strengthen national capacities to boost international efforts to fight terrorism.
JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said the overwhelming response from Member States and their cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee at all levels reflected the serious commitment of each Member State to address the problem of terrorism. As a member of the Committee’s bureau, he thanked all countries that had responded to the invitation of Subcommittee B to discuss the draft letters in the most transparent and even handed manner. The spirit in which discussions had taken place had been most cordial and cooperative, and he hoped that spirit would continue to guide the relations between the Committee and Member States.
He said terrorism had no geographical boundaries, and terrorist acts did not only have a negative impact locally, but had ripple effects that might result in a conflagration of unprecedented violence throughout the globe. The far-reaching mandate of resolution 1373 (2001), if fully implemented and respected by each member State of the international community, would, to a large extent, guarantee international peace and security and rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. In order to achieve that goal, it was important to look into ways of preventing the proliferation of future terrorists and terrorist organizations. The international community must explore ways of enforcing rigorous rules and laws at domestic, regional and international levels on such issues as drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorist financing and trafficking in small arms and light weapons. Most importantly, the Committee must give the necessary assistance to those countries that needed it in implementing the resolution, he said.
He called on those 29 States that had not yet submitted a report to open a line of communication with the Committee and keep it informed of any difficulty they were facing in the implementation of the resolution. Their response was important in sustaining the momentum in the international alliance against terrorism.
STEFAN TAVROV (Bulgaria), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, said the Committee’s success was due not only to its working methods, but also to its Chairman’s rare style, which was characterized by extraordinary intellectual rigour and full transparency.
He said that, despite the Committee’s unprecedented and effective audit of the world’s fight against terrorism, greater efforts were still needed. Certain countries had still not submitted their reports to the Committee. Bulgaria, on the other hand, was among the 14 States that had ratified all 12 instruments relating to terrorism.
A meeting of South-Eastern European countries devoted to the fight against terrorism was currently being held in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he said. Its major objectives included the establishment of regional anti-terrorism mechanisms and the drawing up of a regional plan of action. The meeting also aimed to encourage the creation, through national parliaments, of national structures specialized in combating terrorism. They might help to speed up legislative actions in the anti-terrorism sphere, including measures relating travel papers, identification cards, as well as training for police and customs officers in combating trafficking in human beings and drugs, which were often linked to terrorism.
Council President MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria), speaking in his national capacity, expressed his appreciation to the Chairman, the Vice-Chairmen of the subcommittees and the experts of the Committee for their efforts during the first phase of its work. The Committee, in its previous phases, had been able to meet the requirements of its mandate, primarily through the response of most Member States to the requirements of resolution 1373 (2001), and specifically through the submission of national reports. He noted that a small number of States had been unable to submit their reports, due to difficulties in preparation, rather than an unwillingness to do so. He welcomed the provision of assistance to those countries in the preparation of their reports.
The Chairman of the Committee had presented a very precise and clear-cut work plan for the Committee’s next phase, he said. The genuine guarantee of success depended primarily on the response and concerted efforts by Member States to combat terrorism, as well as an analysis of its roots. Combating terrorism required serious and genuine efforts in various fields. It required further coordination on the part of the Council, particularly at the regional level. Syria would continue to do its utmost to achieve common objectives of the international community.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Iceland, said the fight against terrorism remained an absolute priority for the Union, which acknowledged the central role in this of the United Nations, through the Council and its Counter-Terrorism Committee. He urged those countries who had not yet submitted their initial or subsequent reports to the Committee to do so. The Union would provide the Committee with a timely response to its request for further clarifications on its joint report. Solidarity and international cooperation constituted essential instruments to fight the scourge of terrorism, and the Union stood ready to assist third countries to reinforce their capacity to respond effectively to the international threat. An overview of the Union’s assistance programmes appeared on the Committee’s Web site.
On 12 June, an important conference organized by the Presidency of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was held in Lisbon, Portugal, where the Union had expressed the view that one should aim to avoid overlaps and proliferation of bodies with similar or identical tasks, he said. Time and resources should be used with greater efficiency by identifying the added value that each organization could provide. The Committee was optimally placed to serve as a clearinghouse in that regard. The effectiveness of national efforts against terrorism could be greatly enhanced through regional organizations, something for which the Union was well suited. During the last three months, the Union had continued to implement the Common Position and Action Plan, adopted in the wake of 11 September. On 13 June, the European Justice and Home Affairs Ministers had given the final approval to the harmonization of the criminal offence of terrorism. They also approved the setting up of joint investigation teams, and the Framework Decision on the Common European Arrest Warrant and Surrender Procedures.
He said the fight against terrorism must respect human rights and the rule of law, and the human rights of individuals should be taken into account in the design and implementation of targeted sanctions in the international fight against terrorism. States, when taking counter-terrorism measures, should not condone acts of indiscriminate violence against civilians, nor use counter-terrorism as a pretext for political oppression. The Union urged the speedy signing and ratification of all 12 United Nations international instruments against terrorism and remained committed to finalizing the work on the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism. The Vienna United Nations Centre for International Drug Control and Crime Prevention should provide Member States, upon request, with technical assistance for signature, accession, ratification and effective implementation of the United Nations international conventions and protocols related to terrorism.
BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, expressed appreciation for the Committee’s work and called upon the small number of countries that had not yet submitted their reports to do so as soon as possible. Assistance could help those countries to solve any difficulties they may be facing, and the Committee must facilitate technical assistance and financial cooperation to those States requiring it.
He expressed the hope that in the coming months all States would work to ensure implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and to strengthen their capacity to combat terrorism. The Rio Group endorsed the Committee’s understanding that it could not assume quasi-judicial status and hoped that, during the next phase of its work, it would continue to work transparently and impartially.
The Committee would have to meet the challenge of its growing practical and financial requirements, he said. So far, resources earmarked for other mandates had been used to satisfy its requirements. That was not a sustainable solution, given the existence of other programmes of equal importance to the international community, and the Committee must have its own resources.
Combating terrorism should lead to the building of more open and tolerant societies, he emphasized. Quoting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, he said it was essential to address the root causes of insecurity. The best protection against terrorism was respect for human rights and democracy in all areas, as well as the establishment of a true culture of peace, tolerance and solidarity.
SERBINI ALI (Brunei Darussalam), speaking on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that an important achievement in the Association’s ongoing efforts to combat terrorism had been the Special Ministerial Meeting on Terrorism held in Malaysia in May. During that meeting, ASEAN ministers had agreed to endorse a plan of action that included: programmes on exchanging information; compilation and dissemination of relevant laws and regulations of ASEAN member countries; development of multilateral or bilateral legal arrangements; enhancement of cooperation and coordination in law enforcement and intelligence sharing; and development of regional training programmes. It had also been agreed to designate principal contact points in all ASEAN member countries, he said.
During the ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Prevention of Terrorism, it had been concluded that greater exchange of information and intelligence and further cooperation among law enforcement and other relevant security agencies were essential tools in the fight against terrorism, he said. Participants had agreed that training and exercises between, and in, Forum participating countries could contribute usefully towards the development of national and regional capabilities to prevent terrorism. He added that Forum participating countries had also been invited to submit to the Chairman summaries of measures taken against the terrorist threat at national levels.
In addition, various projects and initiatives related to combating international terrorism had been planned by individual ASEAN members, he said. One such example was the Agreement on Information Exchange and Establishment of Communication Procedures that had been signed by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in May 2002. Under this agreement, the three countries would cooperate to combat transnational crime, including terrorism. He reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to countering terrorism -- a challenge that remained very high on its agenda.
Responding to comments and questions, Mr. GREENSTOCK said that he was pleased that speakers had warmly recognized the work of the Vice-Chairmen, since the work of the subcommittees had been crucial to the progress made so far. He was also glad that the work of the experts had been recognized, as well as the contributions of his own delegation.
On the criteria for self-assessment, he said that that would emerge from the work done by the experts based on what they found in the reports. He would offer to the Committee a synthesis of ongoing experiences which would begin to amount to benchmarks. Over the next period of the Committee’s work, he would provide advice to the members of the Committee on what was coming out of the reports and on the emerging criteria.
On preparing for the major annual review, to be held in October, the United Kingdom would pass around a paper setting out issues which would be worth deeper discussion. With regard to a layman’s analogy for the work of the Committee, he said that the Committee had become a fitness trainer. A fitness trainer was a friend because he aimed to do you good, but in a sense also your enemy because he would make you hurt. The Committee was acting under doctor’s orders. It was the choice of Member States to comply with those orders.
He also underlined the role of the regional groups to ensure that their members responded to the requirements under the resolution. Turning to the balance needed between the Committee’s work and respect for human rights, he felt that the Committee had that balance. The actions of terrorists were an attack on human rights and the fight against terrorism was an extension of human rights.
Speakers had rightly focused on the assistance programme, he noted. The appointment of two experts in that area had accelerated that programme. Donors must offer more because there were potential donors out there who had not come forward. He would continue open meetings with United Nations Member States and was grateful to those who had participated in such meetings. The Rio Group made a good point when it stated that the importance of the issue dictated a level of resources that had not been made available.
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