LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD CONCERTED GLOBAL ACTION IS ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT TERRORISM; COMPLETION OF NEW CONVENTIONS URGED

17 October 2003
GA/L/3234

LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD CONCERTED GLOBAL ACTION IS ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT TERRORISM; COMPLETION OF NEW CONVENTIONS URGED

17/10/2003
Press ReleaseGA/L/3234

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Sixth Committee

7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)

LEGAL COMMITTEE IS TOLD CONCERTED GLOBAL ACTION IS ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT

TERRORISM; COMPLETION OF NEW CONVENTIONS URGED

Delegates from 45 Countries Speak in Continuing Debate

Concerted global action carried out in context of the United Nations and all its relevant organs was the only way to defeat the scourge of terrorism, delegates of the Sixth Committee (Legal) affirmed in two meetings today as they continued debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.

Speakers were responding to a recommendation by the working group of the Ad Hoc Committee charged with elaborating two drafts conventions on terrorism that work on the instruments should continue.  The texts are a comprehensive convention on international terrorism and an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

The Ad Hoc Committee was established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, to prepare the instruments.  The working group also recommended continuation of talks on the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices to formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Delegations called for a definition of terrorism to be included in the comprehensive convention, and for a clear distinction to be drawn between terrorism and the legitimate right of peoples to resist foreign occupation.  Some expressed disappointment that negotiations were stalled by a lack of political will on a matter of the greatest urgency.  Others expressed disapproval at the linking of the two conventions so as to preclude finalization of one without the other.

The representative of the United States said countries needed to put domestic anti-terrorist legislation in place to regulate terror-related activities in such areas as banking, charities and borders.  He said those who did not do all they could to combat terrorism were putting all States at risk.  Supporting the global campaign against terror called for a broad counter-terrorism agenda on the diplomatic, financial, military, intelligence and law enforcement fronts. 

Australia’s representative said the time had come to put the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) on a firmer organizational footing.  A small permanent secretariat should be established and funded from existing resources.  The delegate of the Russian Federation called for strengthening the Committee and consideration of a global assistance fund in that context.

A number of States, including Morocco and Tunisia, welcomed the involvement of multiple United Nations organs in combating the terrorism scourge.  They urged the Counter-Terrorism Committee to work closely with regional organizations.  Numerous delegates, including the Niger’s, called for help in capacity-building and technical assistance.

China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, among many others, expressed opposition to misusing the war on terrorism to achieve political or other goals.  They called for a strengthening of the United Nations role in the fight.

Mozambique’s representative, among many others, reinforced the call for a global effort led by the United Nations in fighting terrorism.  He underscored the need never to interpret the fight against terrorism as a conflict between nations, religions or civilizations.  Kazakhstan’s representative called for a dialogue among civilizations, since the “Islamic threat” was one of the most dangerous myths ever to make the headlines.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Zambia, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Yemen, Republic of Korea, Suriname, Kenya, Algeria, Mali, Malaysia, Swaziland, Kuwait, South Africa, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Madagascar, Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Armenia, Serbia and Montenegro, New Zealand, Brazil, Guatemala, Qatar, Oman, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maldives, Libya and Egypt.

Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka), Chairman of both the working group and the Ad Hoc Committee, introduced the reports of both bodies on Wednesday.  At that meeting, he urged delegations to work with their capitals in resolving the outstanding issues on both conventions.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 20 October, to complete its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism and to take up the question of administration of justice at the United Nations, before moving on to the question of the International Criminal Court.

Background

The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to conclude its consideration of the item on measures against international terrorism.  It had before it a report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (document A/58/37 and Corr.1) concerning the subject; a draft resolution continuing the report of the Working Group elaborating two conventions (document A/C.6/58/L.10); and the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/58/116 and add.1).  (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3233 of 15 October.)

Statements

MWELWA C. MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) said his country condemned international terrorism and believed it could be effectively combated with an international convention under United Nations auspices.  Zambia had actively participated in the drafting of the African Union convention on the prevention and combating of terrorism, which it would soon ratify.  It hoped the divergent views on the framing of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism would be narrowed for a consensus text to be adopted.  His delegation would cooperate with others towards that end.

ANDREI POPKOV (Belarus) said further radical measures were needed to combat and eradicate terrorism and called for political will to ensure the achievement of compromises in the negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention against international terrorism.  His country shared the concerns about nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.  It supported the efforts of the Security Council and the General Assembly to prevent the access of terrorists to weapons of mass destruction.  It believed that the adoption of the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism could minimize that threat.

He said counter-terrorism activities should not be politically motivated.  There should be cooperation between the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and regional organizations.  Belarus had acceded to 11 of the 12 sectoral United Nations conventions against terrorism, and had taken measures nationally to combat and eliminate terrorism.

SABRI CHAABANI (Tunisia) said it was a welcome development that multiple organs of the United Nations were working on combating the scourge of terrorism.  The Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee should work closely with regional organizations.

The financing of terrorism should be closely controlled, he continued, and he commended the creation of the terrorism-prevention branch in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna.  Technical support must be provided to those who needed it.  He said the threat of nuclear terrorism was especially serious.  It was, therefore, imperative to finalize both conventions and to consolidate efforts, as his country and region had done.

He recalled the Tunisian initiative to establish, under the auspices of the United Nations, a consensual counter-terrorism code of conduct, which had been welcomed by the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kuala Lumpur, the summit of the African Union in Maputo and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on 30 September last.

IBSEN KONE (Burkina Faso) said the period between 9/11 (2001) and the attack in August this year on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad had driven home the fact that terrorism required a global, firm and urgent response.  No cause justified terrorism.  His country had completed all the domestic legislative and administrative work to become party to the 12 anti-terror instruments of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) convention.

He said terrorist organizations had proven they could penetrate through all defences that could be erected; they were able to attack any peaceable person.  To combat terrorism, a general convention should be elaborated to take in the full scope of the problem without attaching the phenomenon to any group.

ANIS MOHAMED AHMED QUDAV (Yemen) said his country was working through all measures to fight the scourge of terrorism.  The global response to the threat should aim at three goals:  first, efforts must be unified, concerted and coordinated; the draft conventions must be finalized on an urgent basis; and finally, a high-level conference must be held to elaborate a unified global effort against terrorism.  As a target of terrorism, his country knew the importance of cooperation in fighting the scourge.  At the same time, the comprehensive convention must make the distinction between terrorism and the rights of people to achieve independence.

HAHN MYUNG-JAE (Republic of Korea) said his country condemned all acts of terrorism as unjustified, wherever they occurred and whoever committed them.  He called for political will and a spirit of compromise by States to deal with the threat they posed.  All States must become party to international anti-terrorist instruments.  His country had this year acceded to eight of the 12 sectoral United Nations conventions and protocols related to terrorism.  It had submitted the remaining two to its parliament for ratification.  He stressed the need for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

GERALDO SARANGA (Mozambique) said terrorism continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and was a major impediment to development, freedom and democracy.  The fight against it should be global, and should never be understood as a conflict between nations, religions or civilizations.

Mozambique was fully committed to combat the scourge.  It believed the United Nations was the most appropriate and effective forum to address the problem and should play the leading role in the fight against it.  Last February, Mozambique deposited with the Secretary-General another set of four sectoral instruments against terrorism covering the punishment of crimes against internationally protected persons, the taking of hostages, terrorist bombings and financing of terrorism.  He urged cooperation from all States on outstanding issues in the negotiations for a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

MERIAM MAC INTOSH (Suriname) said it was likely that deterioration of economic and social conditions, leading to increased poverty, ill health, poor sanitation, injustice and discontent could form a breeding ground for terrorism.  Therefore, it was necessary to be careful in linking terrorism to any religion, civilization, or nationality.  There must be more tolerance and understanding among peoples.  Associating terrorism with any religion would certainly do injustice to the dialogue among civilizations.

She said Suriname had submitted national reports to the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  It had signed the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism last year, and currently was in the process of ratification.  Fully committed to the fight against terrorism, her Government also supported the convening of a high-level conference to address the need to eliminate terrorism.  Countries should take part in such an event at the highest political level.

AMOS WAKO, Attorney General of Kenya, said his country was determined to work with all States in full observance of the principles and standards of international law to eliminate terrorism.  It believed the United Nations constituted a unique forum for promoting counter-terrorism activities and international cooperation to combat the scourge.  International cooperation must be undertaken in an atmosphere of mutual respect for the principles of equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States.  He called upon the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee to intensify its efforts to promote the implementation by the United Nations of all aspects of the Security Council anti-terrorism resolution (1373) which, he said, provided wide-ranging comprehensive steps and strategies to combat international terrorism.

He said Kenya continued to develop and enhance its capacities and measures to fight terrorism.  A national counter-terrorism centre had been established to coordinate efforts.  A prosecution unit would soon be established in the office of the Attorney General.  Legislation had also been published which provided measures for the detection and prevention of terrorist activities in Kenya.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said success in the fight against terrorism could be achieved only if its underlying causes were attacked.  Legitimate struggle against colonialism and occupation must be recognized.  There should be no unilateral acts in the face of the global threat which demanded a global response.

He said Algeria favoured a high-level conference under United Nations auspices to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  Consultations and cooperation at the regional level were essential to supplement international efforts.  He noted the Algerian convention on terrorism and its plan of action adopted at an Organization of African Unity Conference in Algiers, to combat terrorism in Africa.  The plan established a framework for action.  Similar instruments had been adopted by the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

He announced a number of proposals made by his Government for combating terrorism, and said they included establishment of data banks by the United Nations on terrorist groups; updating of legislation on terrorist groups and their activities; training and exchange programmes on measures to combat terrorism, and the creation of an international fund to help carry out those programmes.

TRAORE SAFIATOU KONATE (Mali) said terrorism must be fought with every effort, but in a way that did not violate human rights.  In no way should it be identified with Islam.  She said Mali had become party to all 12 conventions on terrorism, and had worked with the United Nations centre on crime prevention to put mechanisms in place to fight related activities such as money laundering.

Describing national and regional actions in which her country had been involved, she said joint patrol of borders with neighbours had been particularly successful.  She added that all countries should sign the convention on transnational organized crime, and a high-level conference on terrorism should be held.

LIOW TIONG LAI (Malaysia) said individual efforts of States to fight terrorism were welcome, but the scale of the threat to international peace and security required that such efforts be undertaken on the regional and global level.  The United Nations could provide the basis for a truly global response.

He described measures his country had taken at the national and regional levels, and said it was crucial to elaborate a clear understanding of what constituted “terror”.  Without a clear and common definition, perpetrators of terrorist acts would continue to justify their actions in the name of State security or national liberation.  That definition should come out of a high-level international conference.  The fight against terror must not diminish the need to acknowledge the legitimate struggle of people against foreign occupation. 

JOEL NHLEKO (Swaziland) said the basic challenge now was to ensure a concerted international response to terrorism, which would make it much harder for terrorists to accomplish their objectives.  He was grateful that the Security Council continued to take the lead in that area.  Much had been achieved through its resolution 1373 (2001), but much remained to be done.

Mozambique, he said, had satisfied its obligations under resolution 1373 and had deposited instruments of accession to all 12 conventions.  The country continued to work closely with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Commonwealth to address possible gaps in the measures it had adopted internally to prosecute terrorist activities.

There was an urgent need to conclude negotiations on the conventions on international terrorism and on suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.  Existing differences should not result in a state of paralysis.  With the necessary political will, it was possible to take the steps to ensure security.

REHAM AL-GHANEM (Kuwait) called for the holding of a high-level conference to organize a unified response to terrorism.  She said it was vital to define terrorism clearly; one of the worst forms was State terrorism, especially when it was perpetrated on neighbours such as had been committed against Kuwait by Iraq.  The former leaders of that country should be prosecuted for war crimes.  Such action was also being carried out against the Palestinian people.

She reviewed the national and regional actions her country had taken to curb terrorism, including the signing of nine United Nations instruments related to it.  She said one of the most important ways to fight the scourge was to close up the flow of money being handed to terrorists through well-intentioned charitable funding.  Her country would submit its third report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee within days, which was indicative of its commitment to the fight.

KARIM MEDREK (Morocco) said that recent events had highlighted, more than ever, the threats posed to international peace and security by terrorism.  Morocco itself had, on 16 May, been a victim.  The entire nation had spontaneously joined in condemning the heinous act, and the country’s resolve to build a democratic society had not been shaken.  Terrorism would not succeed, and Morocco would remain faithful to its international obligations.  It had acceded to all international instruments related to terrorism, and had presented reports on measures taken by the government to combat terrorism as required under Security Council resolution 1373. 

He said he regretted the lack of political will hindering the completion of work on a comprehensive convention against terrorism based on a text originally presented by India.  Any attempt to define terrorism –- one of the problems delaying agreement on the convention -- must necessarily take account of the struggle of the Palestinian people and distinguish it from wanton terrorist acts such as those against the United States, Saudi Arabia and his own country.  He said Morocco supported the convening of an international conference to consider terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

ALBERT HOFFMANN (South Africa) said that, in fighting terrorism, it was important to focus on the root causes and to develop strategies to address them.  Concerted efforts must be made to end perennial conflicts such as the conflict in the Middle East.  South Africa also felt the international campaign against terrorism should include a worldwide joint commitment to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment.  The issue of terrorism should not push development off the international agenda, he said, and the global war against terrorism should not be conducted at the expense of human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.

The main task of the Sixth Committee was to elaborate a comprehensive international legal framework to combat terrorism.  This framework had been immeasurably strengthened through the adoption of the existing conventions and the almost universal acceptance that some of them had already attained.  It was necessary to resolve the outstanding issues relating to both the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.  It was unfortunate that little progress had been made during the last two sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee and the working group.

BENJAMIN GILMAN (United States) said the world had swung into action to fight the scourge of terrorism since 9/11, when 3,000 people from 90 countries had been killed.  The United Nations response had been swift, unanimous and unprecedented.  Still, agreement had not been reached on the two conventions.  Unfortunate realities impeded work.  Not every State had concluded that terrorism was unacceptable in all circumstances.  Until they did, those who wanted to see the world unite against terrorism would confront a different reality.

He said progress had been made in fighting terrorism, but more concerted action was needed.  For example, some 150 States had still to sign all 12 terrorism instruments.  Many still needed to put domestic legislation in place to regulate the banking sector, charities or borders.  It must never be forgotten:  States that did not do all they could to combat terrorism put all States at risk.  At the same time, he went on, supporting the global campaign against terror meant more than condemnation or submitting reports.  It called for full implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 on the ground, and commitment to coordinating a broader counter-terrorism agenda on the diplomatic, financial, military, intelligence and law enforcement fronts.  There was a need to work together to identify needs, to develop capacity-building programmes to meet them, to strengthen collaborative relationships and to use shared resources and expertise to make real advances.

CHOISUREN BAATAR (Mongolia) said a global strategy, comprehensive approach and solid legal framework, as well as cooperation, were required to deal with the struggle against terrorism.  The United Nations was well placed to play a central role in that struggle.  He hoped all States would display political will, wisdom and flexibility for a compromise to be achieved in the negotiations on the comprehensive convention against terrorism and the convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.

He said serious attention should be paid to the root causes of international terrorism, and added that the United Nations should undertake a study on that.  The fight against international terrorism should not become justification for violations of human and civil rights.  Without a clear-cut legal definition of terrorism, there was danger that that fight could easily become a terror itself.

Mongolia had consistently condemned all forms of terrorism and had taken a range of measures to deal with the problem.  It had also become party to all the global multilateral instruments relating to terrorism.

When the Committee met again this afternoon, SRIMANTHAKA SENANAYAKE (Sri Lanka) said all States should redouble their efforts to overcome the present impasse in formulating a comprehensive convention on international terrorism and a convention against nuclear terrorism.

He said his country was now enjoying the fruits of 20 months of peace after 20 years of conflict, with a group that had resorted to terrorism.  The fearless exercise of political will and compromise to overcome seemingly intractable issues was proving to be the way to peace.

Sri Lanka, he went on, continued to extend its fullest cooperation to the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  Domestic legislation against terrorist financing, and action on money laundering and a financial transactions reporting act were in preparation.  It was State Party to 10 out of the 12 Conventions in the field of combating terrorism, and senior officials and legal advisers of regional States had met on the subject in Colombo in August.  Progress had been made on the drafting of an Additional Protocol to the 1987 Convention of the South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on Suppression of Terrorism.  This would meet obligations of Security Council resolution 1373.

JOSÉ LUIS GUTERRES (Timor-Leste) said that while poverty was a fertile ground for terrorism, it could not be regarded as the only factor.  In an environment where freedoms were denied and human rights neglected, networks of well-funded individuals with a violent and destabilizing agenda could flourish.  It was necessary to address the profound causes that generated violence and deteriorated into terrorism.  A multidisciplinary, multisectoral and multilevel approach was needed. 

He said the existing 12 United Nations “sectoral” Conventions against terrorism should be regarded as the common legal arsenal to counter terrorism, in full respect of human rights and international humanitarian law.  They should be strengthened through their wide ratification and effective domestic implementation in order to provide a basis for a more effective international cooperation.  His country was firmly committed to the accession to all 12 instruments.  In order to respond properly to the pressing necessity to fight against international terrorism, small countries like Timor-Leste needed to assume their responsibilities at the national level and to fully benefit from any bilateral or multilateral assistance towards that end. 

KENICHI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said terrorism required a broad range of cooperative international efforts, including the strengthening of international legal frameworks, so there would be no safe havens for terrorists.  All must become party to the conventions on counter-terrorism and must implement them.  Those that stipulated obligations to prosecute and extradite terrorists were a priority.  Japan would continue to cooperate with the Counter-Terrorism Committee to extend assistance to countries needing to strengthen their capacity to fight terrorism.

In addition, he said, the variety of terrorist acts necessitated the creation of new international frameworks by which terrorists were brought to justice regardless of the specific forms of their crimes.  States should show flexibility and a cooperative spirit so that the comprehensive convention could be adopted to strengthen the legal foundation for effective punishment of terrorists.

WUNNA MAUNG LWIN (Myanmar) said there was a real need for a comprehensive international convention to fight terrorism, despite the many existing anti-terrorist instruments.  Severe conditions of poverty and deprivation provided fertile breeding ground for terrorists.  That link should not be forgotten.  The international community must join together to combat it.

He said Myanmar had acceded to a number of major anti-terrorist conventions, the most recent being the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, and the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism.  It had also joined members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in fighting terrorism.  He referred to the ASEAN and the European Union Joint Declaration on Cooperation to Combat Terrorism issued at the end of their recent ministerial meeting in Brussels, and reiterated Myanmar’s firm commitment to fight terrorism in cooperation with the rest of the international community.

FAWAZ AL-SHUBAILI (Saudi Arabia) said the Kingdom condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and had adopted a number of measures to deal with its perpetrators.  At the international level, it had supported all anti-terrorism instruments.  It had been among the first to sign the conventions of the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Conference related to terrorism and other relevant instruments. 

He said international efforts to combat terrorism would not succeed if dealt with in isolation.  Political, economic and social elements that gave rise to terrorist acts should be dealt with.  The persistent conditions of oppressed peoples created an atmosphere for people, including young ones, to adopt terrorist measures to combat it.  He recalled that Israel had occupied Palestinian and Arab lands for more than 35 years.

The Palestinian struggle for self-determination should not be equated to acts of terrorism.  He noted that governments that had entered into agreements with the Palestinian Authority had not lived up to them, and should do so.

ALLIEU I. KANU (Sierra Leone), who is also a Vice-Chairman of the Sixth Committee, reiterated his delegation’s view that a successful attempt to tackle terrorism must include an identification of the root causes, and a genuine and concerted effort to address them.  A unilateral, selective or one-dimensional approach to the problem might yield temporary results.  A permanent solution was required.  He said Sierra Leone supported all United Nations measures to deal with the scourge of terrorism.

He listed the measures his government had taken in response to Security Council anti-terrorism resolution 1373.  Sierra Leone had signed, ratified and acceded to all the major sectoral conventions on international terrorism, he said, and domestic legislation mandated, among other provisions, protection of the State against threats of espionage, sabotage, terrorism, hijacking, drug trafficking, money-laundering and other serious crimes.

Despite all the measures already taken by the international community to combat terrorism, Sierra Leone believed there was an urgent need for work on the two anti-terrorist conventions before the Ad Hoc Committee to be completed -- the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. 

MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said a clear strategy was required to deal with the problem of terrorism, with the United Nations playing a central role.  It must include efforts of United Nations bodies such as the Security Council and the General Assembly.  Terrorism had several economic and social aspects which the Security Council could not deal with alone.  Hence, the need to involve the General Assembly.  International cooperation was necessary in that endeavour.  He said activities of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee must be reinforced by General Assembly actions.  He also said that efforts to frame a comprehensive international anti-terrorism convention must be speeded up.  There was a need for political will to achieve those goals.  He was convinced such a convention would have great effect when completed.  At the national level, he said his country adopted stringent measures to deal with terrorism.  Jordan had also ratified international anti-terrorist conventions. 

QI DAHAI (China) said his country would like to see the United Nations play a leading role in the fight against terrorism, and it supported the strengthening of international cooperation in that endeavour.  The Chinese government opposed and condemned international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and was against its use to achieve political or other goals.  At the same time, it believed that the fight against terrorism should be conducted in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and other established rules of international law.

China had consistently supported and actively participated in the work of the Sixth Committee to elaborate international conventions against terrorism, its representative continued.  Of the 12 international instruments on terrorism, China had become party to 10 and signed one.  It was ready to work with the rest of the international community to strengthen the international legal framework against terrorism.  China supported the elaboration of the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism and the draft instrument on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.  It believed their conclusion would form an important part of the international legal framework against terrorism.  It also supported the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices on fighting terrorism.

LYDIA RANDRIANARIVONY (Madagascar) said instability and insecurity held sway everywhere because of terrorism, and the Organization was increasingly called upon to intervene.  Her country had become party to all 12 of the legal instruments on terrorism.  Also, as a member of Interpol, it was able to take part in an early warning mechanism.  Further, it was ratifying conventions on activities related to terrorism, such as the Convention on organized crime.

She said the fight against terrorism had become an international priority.  The high-level conference should be held and international solidarity built.  Also, States should implement relevant Security Council resolutions, and the Committee should quickly finalize the two conventions on terrorism before it.

NGUYEN DUY CHIEN (Viet Nam), speaking for the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that terrorist acts had become more and more dangerous, requiring concerted international efforts, with a central United Nations role, to deal with the problem.  Viet Nam supported action based on the Charter and principles of international law, and valued work being done by the Ad Hoc Committee framing international anti-terrorist instruments.  He said ASEAN had, at its recent meeting, agreed to establish an ASEAN security community, through existing institutions and mechanisms, to strengthen national and regional capacities to counter terrorism.  The member countries had also increased their efforts in anti-terrorism cooperation.  He said a ministerial meeting on transnational crime would be convened in Thailand next January to further consolidate and intensify regional efforts to combat terrorism.

ARMEN MARTIROSYAN (Armenia) said the root causes of terrorism had different manifestations in different regions although they might have shared characteristics.  Responses to tackling the problem differed.  The situation had been exacerbated by changes in the international situation.  He said two strategies could be applied to deal with terrorism –- a soft political approach and the use of force.  He said terrorism could be resolved by political means, with force being applied if required.  The phenomenon must be eradicated by all possible means.  The international community must do its utmost to do that, he said.

RI SONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the holding of a high-level conference was more important than ever, as was multilateralism centred on the United Nations.  The central role of the United Nations in fighting terrorism must be strengthened.  He said his country was opposed to every form of terrorism, and was actively cooperating with the United Nations by providing regular reports.

He said the dangerous unilateralism and high-handedness emerging in international relations must be rejected by all nations.  Encroachment upon sovereignty must be stopped and justice promoted.  The fight against terrorism was being misused, and led to military attacks on sovereign States for political purposes. 

DEJAN SAHOVIC (Serbia and Montenegro) called for the United Nations to play a central role in the fight against terrorism.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee should coordinate with the regional and subregional groups.  His country carried out many measures to fight terrorism, and yet it could not control terrorism in southern Serbia.  Terrorist acts also took place in Kosovo and Metohija in collusion with organized crime.  More needed to be done to create a global system of legal measures against international terrorism.  The two conventions before the Committee should be adopted quickly.

ALEXANDER GAPPOEV (Russian Federation) said no area of life was free of the need to take terrorism into consideration.  It was vital to build a global regime against it.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee should be strengthened and a global assistance fund should be considered in that context.  The issues of weapons of mass destruction should be addressed.  The two drafts before the Committee should be quickly finalized.  This could be done if the political will was there.

While it was still important to identify the full extent of the terrorist reach, he said, there were some elements with regard to terrorism that were obvious priorities.  Prevention needed to be improved and those touched by terrorism must be compensated.  There should be zero tolerance for terrorism; double standards must be eradicated.  And inter-faith dialogue must be instituted so that no one was unfairly blamed.  Finally, the legal mechanism for actions such as extradition must be “fine-tuned”.  Ensuring the rights of everyone to be protected from terrorism was the primary priority.

DON MACKAY (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said the group had a long tradition of regional cooperation in addressing common challenges.  He outlined activities and said he welcomed the enhanced dialogue between the United Nations and regional organizations on counter-terrorism matters.  However, despite the strong shared commitment to do what was necessary to fight terrorism, capacity limitations presented a major challenge for many Forum members.  Those members with a capacity to assist others were recognizing their special responsibilities.  Finally, his country would soon be a party to all twelve of the instruments related to terrorism.

SIDNEY LEON ROMEIRO (Brazil) said terrorist acts must be seen for what they were.  Perpetrators of terrorist acts must be brought to justice.  The work on the comprehensive convention must be concluded quickly so as to become an important contribution to the comprehensive framework for action against terrorism.  The high-level conference should be convened as soon as the convention was finalized.

Summarizing the national and regional steps his country had taken against terrorism, he said cooperation and the strengthening of interaction at borders had been very successful.  Also, it should be kept in mind that terrorism thrived on hopelessness and a sense of exclusion.

SUE KNOWLES (Australia) said strong cooperation between governments was critical in combating international terrorism.  Australia and Indonesia had hosted a conference on money-laundering and terrorist financing last fall.  In February, the two countries would host a regional ministerial conference on counter-terrorism in Bali.  Numerous regional initiatives had been taken.  And while those were essential, there had to be concerted action at the global level.

The United Nations must play a key role in denying terrorists the opportunity to commit their appalling crimes.  For example, the Sanctions Committee list in Security Council resolution 1267 was an important counter-terrorism tool.  Furthermore, the time had come to put the Counter-Terrorism Committee, on a firmer organizational footing, by setting up a small permanent secretariat and funding it from existing resources.  Finally, the differences in view among delegations had been identified on the two proposed conventions; those differences must be overcome as soon as possible.

ROBERTO LAVALLE-VALDES (Guatemala) said terrorist crimes were much more serious than other crimes and required concerted international actions to combat them.  There were no limits to international terrorist activities.  Atrocities committed were directed at States with the objective of achieving maximum effect.  International terrorists tended to act outside their country of origin.  International terrorism was a clear threat to international peace and security.  It was a global phenomenon which posed great danger to the human species, requiring the involvement of all mankind to combat it at all levels.  He said extraordinary efforts were required to deal with the problem, and mentioned the need for international cooperation in such areas as extradition and police action.  The two draft anti-terrorist treaties before the working group of the Sixth Committee had not been completed for reasons known to delegations.  It was doubly important for all efforts to be exerted to ensure their completion.

Mr. AL-ELMADI (Qatar) stressed the need for international cooperation in combating terrorism, pointing out that the fight could not be undertaken by one country or group of countries alone.  All States must be involved.  There must be unity of purpose to combat the scourge, as the problem was a real one.  He said a clear definition of terrorism was required to distinguish it from the legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation for self-determination.  The root causes of terrorism must be investigated.  He supported the convening of an international conference to examine the issue, among others, of the definition of terrorism.

Mr. AL-SALEHI (Oman) said consideration should be given to provision of resources to least developed countries to help them in the fight against terrorism.  His country had, on many occasions, strongly condemned terrorism, which had become a major issue of concern worldwide.  There was need for a definition of terrorism, distinguishing it from the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination.

Mr. MORSHED (Bangladesh) outlined the numerous steps his country had taken to fight terrorism on the national and regional levels.  He called for capacity-building and technical assistance to be provided for countries that needed them.  He said terrorism and poverty were linked in hidden ways.  Poverty, exploitation and deprivation were the conditions that bred terrorism.  Those conditions must be addressed.  Military action was not enough.  Selective profiling of terrorism by particular faiths only increased the conditions that bred it.

ZENON MUKONGO NGAY (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said his country condemned terrorist acts of all kinds.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee was working with his country to fight the scourge, including by strengthening its legislation and capacity for regional cooperation.  Some provisions of conventions were already being met in national legislation, including in a law on terrorist financing.  Experts from the crime prevention office in Vienna had traveled to his country and had held a seminar.  It would be helpful if such missions would provide other kinds of assistance, such as technical, regulatory and financial.  Differences within the Committee on the two conventions should be overcome.

MOHAMED LATHEEF (Maldives) said his country had experienced the heat of terror in the 1980s, and had tried since then to remind the international community of the threats posed to small States by the increased activities of international terrorism.  Small States could be vulnerable and easy targets of terrorist and mercenary networks.  It was difficult for them to keep the menace at bay.  The international community must help them.  Until the smallest and weakest States were secure, the larger wouldn’t be safe.

AHMED A. S. ELMESSALLATI (Libya) said his country had been subjected to the worse form of State terrorism, as well as sanctions, which undoubtedly violated international law.  Libya had ratified the 12 international conventions against terrorism, as well as the African convention against terrorism.  There was need for a distinction to be drawn between the struggle for self-determination and acts of terrorism.  Libya had cooperated with the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, and had recently submitted its third report to it on measures it was taking to combat terrorism as required by Council resolution 1373.  He expressed the need for an objective study of the causes of terrorism and what constituted it, to be examined at an international conference on the subject.

MAHMOUD SAMY (Egypt) said his country associated itself with the statement of Iran, made before the Committee on behalf of States members of the Organization of Islamic Conference.  He said the fight against terrorism required concerted efforts within the General Assembly, and in the Security Council as well.  Terrorism could be defeated if there was concerted international cooperation.  Attention should be paid to international legality and international humanitarian law in the fight against terrorism.

He said an important action in the fight was the strengthening of the dialogue among civilizations and religions.  The United Nations must play a pivotal role in the dialogue.  He recalled the initiative launched by his country in 1995 on the convening of an international conference on combating terrorism.  He said consultations on the subject were going on in capitals at the highest levels.  The fight against terrorism must take account of State sovereignty and territorial integrity.

ABDOU ADAMOU (Niger) said terrorism was a complex phenomenon and that complexity must be taken into account when addressing it.  It was a scourge that his country looked at in global terms.  The wealthy countries must listen to the poorer ones.  They must offer help in the areas of capacity-building and technical assistance.

YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) recalled the attack on the United Nations in August, and said the existing instruments on terrorism were either limited in scope or in terms of the target of terrorist attack.  It was time to elevate joint action to develop and enhance international norms and universal arrangements to a qualitatively new level.  In addition to establishing counter-terrorism mechanisms, an in-depth study of the root causes of the evil should be carried out.  “Here we cannot afford a mistake”, he said.

Continuing, he said the so-called “Islamic threat” was one of the most dangerous myths to make the headlines.  It was hard to ignore the fact that international terrorism tried to hide behind the tenets of Islam.  Several factors were at play, such as poverty, unemployment, prolonged armed conflicts and institutional weaknesses.  When those factors converged in a region, an outburst became inevitable.  Terrorism had no social or ideological common ground with Islam.  A dialogue among civilizations must be promoted.

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For information media. Not an official record.