UN ACTION AGAINST GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT, STRENGTHENED FUTURE STEPS FOCUS OF SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE

20 February 2003
SC/7667

UN ACTION AGAINST GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT, STRENGTHENED FUTURE STEPS FOCUS OF SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE

20/02/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7667

Security Council

4710th Meeting (AM)

UN ACTION AGAINST GLOBAL TERRORIST THREAT, STRENGTHENED FUTURE STEPS

FOCUS OF SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE

Counter-Terrorism Committee Chair Briefs Council

The Security Council, following up on its ministerial-level meeting on terrorism of 20 January, this morning heard from the chair of its Counter-Terrorism Committee and some 25 Member States, with debate focused on United Nations efforts to date --and strengthened future action -- against the global terrorist threat.

Last month’s ministerial meeting produced a number of proposals aimed at strengthening implementation of Council resolution 1373 (2001) and adopted a declaration calling on all States to prevent and suppress all active and passive support to terrorism.  Adopted following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the resolution set out wide-ranging steps and strategies to combat international terrorism and established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor implementation.

Briefing the Council, Committee Chairman Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom) said that, following the January meeting, the Committee had agreed on a set of actions focused on three main areas:  working with Member States to raise their capacity to defeat terrorism in their countries; promoting assistance programmes to accelerate the capacity-building process; and creating a global network of international and regional organizations.  As part of that global effort, he noted the Committee’s forthcoming meeting on 7 March with regional and subregional organizations, which, he hoped would not amount to a collection of “information handouts”, but become an exchange on how to fill vulnerability gaps on the basis of best practices.

The Committee would continue to encourage States to become party to the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, he continued, and remain aware of the links between its work and Member States’ obligations under international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.  It would also develop a “matrix” to include information on the priorities in assistance of the State concerned.  Committee experts would visit international organizations to discuss further cooperation and information exchange on matters relating to counter-terrorism and would maintain a list of contact points.

Following the briefing, speakers generally agreed that, as a global phenomenon, the problem of terrorism required sustained long-term action and

solidarity among nations.  The Council was told that it should implement a policy of “zero tolerance” for terrorism, and that the United Nations’ role in the anti-terrorism efforts must be strengthened, with the Committee playing a key coordinating role.

Among other issues raised was the need to pay more attention to the root causes of terrorism, including poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts and denial of human rights.  Several speakers drew attention to the problems arising from the links between terrorism, transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and trafficking in illegal arms.  Wide support was expressed for early conclusion of negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism, and the adoption of the draft convention on nuclear terrorism.

Canada’s representative, in particular, said that, as noted by the resolution adopted by the ministerial-level meeting, 1456, controls on nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials must be strengthened.  As international treaties were key mechanisms to help strengthen disarmament objectives and curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he looked forward to the conclusion next month of negotiations on a well defined convention on the protection of nuclear materials.

The representative of Peru, on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the scourge of terrorism must be fought with all means provided for in the United Nations Charter and international treaties and norms.  The fight against terrorism required a permanent dialogue, as well as stepped-up cooperation and international assistance, to effectively prevent, combat and eliminate the scourge.  Towards that goal, in June 2002, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism had been adopted, which addressed cooperation in the fight against financing of terrorism.

Cuba’s representative singled out unilateralism and double standards as among thedifficulties encountered by the international community in the fight against terrorism.  A pre-emptive war by a State or group of States under the pretext of the struggle against terrorism was totally unacceptable, he said. Terrorism could not be eliminated while condemning some terrorist acts and justifying others.  The use of the veto to prevent action directed to protect the Palestinian people from State terrorism should cease, as should military supplies from the United States that supported such terrorism.

      Similarly, therepresentative of Bahrain focused on State terrorism, represented, in particular, he said, by Israel’s policies in the occupied Arab territories, as well asthe absence of an agreed definition of terrorism.  It was necessary to arrive at an accurate definition, making a distinction between terrorism and legitimate struggle of peoples for independence and freedom.

Israel’s representative said his country was enduring one of the bloodiest periods of terrorism in history.  As for the definition of terrorism, he stressed that no distinctions should be made between so-called “bad” and “good” terrorism.  The international community must stand firmly by the principle that the use of violence against civilians for political means was “completely and utterly” unacceptable, regardless of cause or motive.

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Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, Greece’s representative categorically condemned all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, irrespective of their motivation.  The fight against that scourge, however, must be carried out in accordance with the rule of law, including human rights law, and in case of an armed conflict, humanitarian law. 

Also addressing the Council this morning were representatives of Japan, Belarus, Australia, Croatia, Myanmar, Egypt, Fiji (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Colombia, Turkey, Yemen, Argentina, South Africa, Iran, Albania and El Salvador.

The meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 1:50 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to hear statements from non-member States on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. This meeting was a follow-up to a Council meeting at the ministerial level on

20 January (see Press Release SC/7638).

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks on the United States, on 11 September 2001, the Council adopted resolution 1373 which called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts.  The Council also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor the resolution's implementation, through, among other things, reports from States on actions they had taken to that end.

On 20 January, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1456 (2003), which reaffirmed the severity of the global terrorist threat and called on all States to take urgent action to prevent and suppress all active and passive support to terrorism.

The Council had before it a Secretary-General’s report (document S/2003/191) submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of the declaration on combating terrorism, annexed to resolution 1456 (2003), which contains a summary of proposals made during the ministerial meeting on 20 January in the areas of international instruments; cooperation; role of the international, regional and subregional organizations; assistance; and the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

According to the document, proposals regarding international instruments ranged from calls on Member States to become party to the existing counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, to adopting the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.  Other initiatives envisioned development of a code to protect human rights against terrorism and calls for the strengthening of international agreements on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.  Some members emphasized the need to promote greater cultural and religious harmony and dialogue, noting that terrorism had no creed, culture or religion.

Proposals in the area of international cooperation included calls to convene a special session of the General Assembly to adopt new measures in the fight against terrorism and an international conference to determine the common response to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  One member reiterated its call for an international conference to make the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

Welcoming the initiative of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to hold a special meeting on 7 March 2003 with representatives of international and regional organizations, speakers called for continued support for those organizations and proposed the establishment of an inter-agency coordination segment that would cover specific sectoral actions and programmes.  Member States having the necessary expertise were encouraged to help those lacking the requisite skills and resources to take measures against terrorism.  Also proposed was a cooperation and assistance fund that would work closely with the international financial institutions.

In connection with the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, some suggested paying greater attention to the links between international terrorism and international organized crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering and the illegal trade in weapons.  It was also suggested that the Committee should not only assist Member States in improving their anti-terrorist laws, but also examine how those laws were being applied; and propose legal and political measures in various areas of preventing and suppressing of terrorism. 

Also contained in the document is a response by the Russian Federation, which comments on the proposals and reiterates Russia’s calls for a speedy conclusion of the work on the draft convention against international terrorism and the draft international convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism, and the development of an effective instrument for protecting human rights against terrorism.

Briefing by Chairman of Counter-Terrorism Committee

The Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), said the Committee had discussed the challenge ministers had set on

20 January in the Declaration and had agreed on a set of actions.  The Committee continued to work with the vigour, focus and transparency which the fight against terrorism demanded.  In the current period, it was concentrating on three areas: working with Member States to raise their capacity to defeat terrorism in their country; promoting assistance programmes to accelerate the capacity-building process; and creating a global network of international and regional organizations.

He said the special meeting of the Committee on 7 March would help take forward that global effort.  The Committee would continue to encourage States to become party as soon as possible to the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.  The Committee would remain aware of the links between its work and Member States’ obligations under international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.

Attached to his circulated statement was a list of follow-up action points to resolution 1456.  According to that annex, the Committee had fulfilled its intention to write to all States that had not yet submitted a report by 8 February and a subcommittee would have meetings with those States who had not submitted a report.  The Committee would report at three-month intervals on progress in monitoring States’ implementation of resolution 1373.

In stepping up efforts to facilitate the provision of assistance by developing targets and priorities for global action, the experts and subcommittee would develop the “matrix” to include prioritized information on the assistance needs of the State concerned.  Committee experts would visit international organizations to discuss further cooperation and information exchange on matters relating to counter-terrorism and would maintain and update a list of contact points.  The Committee would also explore the possibilities of further cooperation with international organizations at the special meeting.

The Committee would write to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to invite them to brief the Committee on activities related to counter-terrorism.  The Committee would further maintain and update a list of contact points in regional and subregional organizations to facilitate information-sharing and cooperation.  It would explore with regional organizations ways in which it could assist them to develop initiatives to further practical cooperation among the members.  The Committee would take the directives in the ministerial Declaration fully into account in preparing for its special meeting on 7 March with international, regional and subregional organizations.

Statements

KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) said that simple condemnation of terrorism was not sufficient to protect democratic systems and ensure security.  Urgent efforts must be made in order to implement existing counter-terrorism measures even more effectively.  At the same time, honest efforts were needed to analyse the root causes of terrorism and try to redress them.  In the past, terrorism generally targeted certain regions, but with globalization and advances in science and technology, terrorists now had a more global reach, with greater destructive and lethal capacities.  The situation would become even more dangerous if terrorists had access to weapons of mass destruction.

He said that traditional means of deterrence could not adequately address the threat of international terrorism.  That was a new and grave threat to international peace and security and demanded resolute and concerted actions by the international community.  The existing global cooperative mechanism and international rules must be strengthened.  In that global fight, Japan considered the following three objectives to be of particular importance:  denying terrorists safe havens; denying them the means; and eliminating the vulnerability to terrorism.  In order to achieve those goals, cooperative relations and networks among countries must be built in a wide range of areas, including not only military organizations, but also law enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations.

Capacity-building in developing countries was also vital, he said.  Japan attached particular importance to such efforts in the Asian region and had been holding seminars and training courses for developing countries, mainly in its region, in the following areas:  immigration; aviation security; customs cooperation; export control; law enforcement cooperation; and anti-terrorist financing.  Japan was planning to receive 30 trainees each year for the next five years, with a view to enhancing the “crisis and consequence” management capacity of their respective countries in the event of a chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear terrorist attack.  He urged every member of the international community to take an active part in the global combat against terrorism.

ALEG IVANOU (Belarus) supported increased international cooperation in counter-terrorism activities in implementation of resolution 1373, saying that his country considered itself an integral part of the anti-terrorism coalition.  Belarus participated in 11 out of 12 multilateral anti-terrorism conventions and was planning to join the international convention against financing terrorism.  It had presented in a timely fashion two reports to the Counter-Terrorism Committee and was preparing the third one now.  It had also requested technical assistance in ensuring effective boundary and customs control, as due to its geopolitical situation as “a corridor between Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries”, it was concerned over illegal shipments of weapons and ammunition, illegal migration, drug trafficking and other terrorism-related activities.

Turning to the outcome of the January ministerial meeting of the Council,  he said that it would play an important part in determining the Council’s future approaches to fighting terrorism.  Maintaining the current dynamics in international cooperation between the Committee and Member States would be impossible without forming an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect for the positions of all members of the international community regarding the future direction of anti-terrorist activities.  Belarus supported holding a special meeting with regional and subregional organizations on 7 March, to promote closer coordination of their efforts.

On the CIS territory, Belarus was taking measures to strengthen the regional anti-terrorism centre, he continued.  The practice of holding meetings of the Council allowing all Member States to express their views on the matter was useful and it should be continued.  He hoped that would allow to achieve greater unity within the Organization.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said on 12 October 2002 a terrorist attack on Bali, Indonesia, took the lives of over 200 innocent civilians from some 21 countries, including 88 Australians.  Together with the attacks in Mombassa, Moscow and Bogota, that attack demonstrated all too clearly terrorism’s global reach and the threat it posed to peace and security. Australia’s approach to combating terrorism was comprehensive, covering bilateral, regional and multilateral activities, as well as political, economic, diplomatic, legal and, where appropriate, military initiatives.

Among actions on the regional level, he said in December 2002 Australia and Indonesia had co-hosted a regional conference on combating money laundering and terrorist financing in Bali, which had raised awareness of that problem and had encouraged action to cut off funding of terrorist groups.  The Council should also act decisively and resolutely in dealing with Iraq’s disarmament.

He said globally the United Nations must continue to play a key role in denying terrorists the opportunity to commit their appalling crimes.  There was no greater danger for the international community than that of weapons of mass destruction finding their way into the hands of terrorists.  He, therefore, welcomed and endorsed the ministerial declaration on terrorism issued under resolution 1456.  His country remained a strong proponent of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  Regarding the Committee’s work, he encouraged more proactive listing of terrorists and terrorist entities under resolution 1267.

JASNA OGNJANOVAC (Croatia) said the Counter-Terrorism Committee had been successful because it had prompted Member States to consolidate and improve terrorism-related legislative and law-enforcement measures.  However, it was time for the Committee to become more action-oriented.  Specifically, she called for technical and financial assistance for countries striving to implement resolution 1373.  In her country’s case, such aid would, among other things, be used to enhance border controls, train anti-terrorist experts, and combat potential radiation attacks.

The designation of terrorism as a universal crime was a good first step towards its eradication.  She warned, however, that, without complete global participation and full implementation, the relevant international instruments would be of little value.  In that regard, she expressed hope that Member States would finalize negotiations and become parties to the applicable United Nations conventions.  She also recognized regional and subregional efforts as positive steps in the fight against terrorism.

Outlining her Government’s participation in various counter-terrorism initiatives, she stressed the importance of establishing a link between terrorism and development issues.  In that regard, she lauded the integration of socio-economic concerns into the Security Council’s campaign against terrorism. Additionally, she called for tighter cooperation between the Council and the Economic and Social Council.

DAN GILLERMAN (Israel) said that since the very moment of its establishment, Israel had been the target of terrorism.  It was currently enduring one of the bloodiest periods of terrorism in history.

He believed he might be the only ambassador in the room whose four-year old grandson needed armed guards to protect his kindergarten, and Israel was the only democracy in the world whose schools, universities, cafes and restaurants were protected by armed guards.  For those nations that still viewed terrorism as an abstraction, Israel offered a glimpse of what was in store if terrorism was not confronted resolutely, universally and without fear.  As a result of Israel’s long experience with terrorism, it was a natural partner in the intensified campaign to rid the world of that scourge.

Integral to the success of that international fight was battling terrorists on all fronts, he said.  That meant more than using the full range of economic, military, legal and diplomatic tools at the world’s disposal.  It also meant making no distinctions between so-called “bad” terrorism and “good” terrorism.  Despite the seeming universality of that fight, there were those who persisted in drawing such distinctions.  The international community must stand firmly by the principle that the use of violence against civilians for political means was “completely and utterly” unacceptable, regardless of cause or motive.  That position was made clear, once again, last month through the Council’s adoption of resolution 1456 (2003).

He said that the world should never allow the apologists for terrorism to invoke the mantra of “root causes” to justify murder, while laying the moral foundation for future attacks.  Those who killed themselves in order to kill others were murderers, not martyrs, and their crimes must not be sanitized with terms like “martyrdom” and “resistance”.  In connection with today’s debate, he wished to note the irony of the remarks made by the Foreign Minister of Syria in the Council last Friday.  Syria was among the world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism.  That delegation rarely forfeited an opportunity to launch one of its ritual diatribes against Israel, regardless of the issue on the Council’s agenda.  There was an appalling contradiction between Syria’s membership in the Council and its continued, extensive, and unapologetic support for no less than 10 separate terrorist organizations.  In flagrant violation of resolution 1373 and basic norms of international law, that Government continued to provide financial and logistical support and safe harbour to known terrorist groups that operated freely and openly in Syrian-controlled territory.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said the series of terrorist attacks had occurred in the most diverse parts of the world, including the State terrorism against the Palestinian people and the terror escalation it originated, as well as the terrorism against Cuba.  Only one integral and collective settlement, through partnership and consensus, and not through war, could counter that ancient and terrible scourge.  Hegemonistic unilateralism and double standards had prevented the United Nations from regaining its prerogatives and exercise its functions of peace.  The unilateral acts or a pre-emptive war by a State or group of States under the pretext of the struggle against terrorism were totally unacceptable.

He said his country had struggled and adopted effective measures against international terrorism in an exemplary way.  It had never carried out, financed, tolerated or allowed a terrorist act.  It had never allowed the use of its territory for terrorist actions against any other State and would prevent it in the future.  He rejected categorically slanders of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director on 11 February that presented Cuba as a threat to the United States.  His country had proposed three draft bilateral agreements with the United States pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001).

It was impossible, he said, to eliminate terrorism if some terrorist acts were condemned, while others were silenced or justified.  For ethical reasons,  the use of a veto to prevent the international action directed to protect the Palestinian people from State terrorism should cease, as should military supplies from the United States that supported the exercise of such terrorism.  Terrorism against Cuba continued to be carried out from the United States territory with absolute impunity, and he had submitted evidence in that regard to the FBI, which responded by detaining a number of Cubans who were only trying to obtain information about the terrorist groups based in Miami.  Describing numerous incidents aimed to show that the United States harboured terrorists fighting his country -- including granting residence to Orlando Bosch, the perpetrator of the 1976 Cuban airline bombing -- he asked:  “Does resolution 1373 not apply to the terrorism that, on a permanent basis and with evident impunity, is undertaken from United States territory against Cuba?”  He expected that the Council and the Committee would act.

TAWFEEQ AHMED AL-MANSOOR (Bahrain) supported the efforts to increase the transparency of the Council’s work by engaging Member States in the dialogue regarding terrorism.  That issue now commanded the attention of the international community.  The events of 11 September were a turning point, which shed light on the phenomenon of terrorism as a threat to international peace and stability.  The tragic events in Bali and Moscow, as well as Israeli activities in the occupied territories, were only part of the larger picture.  His country had cooperated with the Committee since its inception.  Bahrain had been one of the first States to submit a national report in time.  It had also presented a supplementary report required by the Committee and ratified most of the international conventions on terrorism.

The most important manifestation of terrorism was State terrorism, which continued, in particular, in the Arab occupied territories, as seen in intentional demolition of homes, displacement of Palestinians and looting of their property.  The international community should firmly address that issue and put an end to the inhumane practices.  Israel continued to defy United Nations resolutions and reject all peaceful initiatives, including those by Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Arab countries.  His country was gravely concerned by Israeli defiance of international law.

There were many obstacles in the way of international efforts to combat international terrorism, he continued, the most important being the absence of an international definition of terrorism.  It was necessary to overcome the difficulties in that respect and arrive at an accurate definition, making a distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for independence and freedom.  Without such a definition, the task of the Council would be very difficult.  Terrorism was a global phenomenon, which had taken many forms.  It was also necessary to address the root causes of terrorism.

U KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that, in light of terrorist attacks, such as the one in Bali, greater efforts to combat terrorism were needed at all levels.  He then gave the Council an update on his region’s activities in that arena, which included increased intelligence sharing between the member States of ASEAN, the holding of terrorism-related workshops, and the hosting of relevant conferences.

In addition to interregional cooperation, ASEAN had signed joint anti-terrorism declarations with the United States and the European Union.  He found such global links helpful in the preservation of international security.  In that regard, he praised open meetings in the Security Council, since they allowed Member States to learn from other States’ examples.  He also recognized the importance of the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s publication of its directory of assistance on the Internet.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said that intensified counter-terrorism efforts, coordinated through the United Nations, were the only guarantee of success.  Collective coordination by all countries was critical to achieving an effective outcome.  The more international participation in that war, the closer the world would come to achieving its objectives.  Unity among States was critical to maintaining security and ensuring citizens’ safety.  The counter-terrorism process should avoid unilateral measures and antagonizing cultures or religions.  The objective of all terrorists, after all, was to spread panic, enmity and to destabilize.  The world should not fall into that trap by creating tension and disagreement in the international community.

Also important, he said, terrorism should not be confused with other political elements.  The international community should seek to define terrorism and identify its causes and how best to deal with them.  That should be done in a framework that affirmed international law, the relevant United Nations resolutions and international humanitarian law and human rights.  Commitments should also be strengthened to national legislation and judicial systems.  Turning to some of the Secretary-General’s proposals, he said he agreed that the international community must develop a dialogue among civilizations and religions, in which the United Nations must assume a leading role.  He also supported a suggestion by a Member State for convening a global conference to define terrorism and formulate a collective response.

A call by a Council member to hold a special session of the General Assembly to adopt new measures in the fight against terrorism also had his endorsement, he said.  Years ago, his country had called for a global conference to discuss questions related to terrorism.  Today, he renewed that call and expressed the hope that it would be held as soon as possible.  Another valuable proposal had been made to convene a conference to declare the Middle East a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee was a vital and effective machinery in the war against terrorism, and he affirmed the United Nations as a core instrument in that battle.

AMENA TAVE YAUVOLI (Fiji), Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum, said that Member States, including those of the Forum, had worked to give effect to the obligations under resolution 1373 (2001).  The Counter-Terrorism Committee had played an important part in those efforts.  Its role in monitoring implementation of the resolution had undoubtedly assisted in prompting and focusing government action.  It had assisted States in identifying and defining the standards for action.  The Committee’s efforts in placing States in contact with available sources of assistance had enhanced States’ capacity to take such action.  The Forum also strongly supported the Committee’s initiative to meet with relevant regional and international organizations as a constructive way of establishing the dialogue necessary to “connect the dots”.

He said that much work had been done regionally to give effect to resolution 1373.  The Pacific leaders had expressed their political commitment to global counter-terrorism efforts through the adoption of the Nasonini Declaration on Regional Security in August 2002.  That declaration was not simply an expression of political intent.  It also recognized the need for the group to take concrete practical measures to give effect to that intent, through law enforcement cooperation and national strategies to combat serious transnational crime, backed by a strong legislative base.  In the six months since it was issued, the Forum members had worked to ensure that those practical measures were put in place, including the completion of a regional review of national counter-terrorism, transnational crime and law enforcement legislation.  Model laws were now being drafted, to serve as a robust framework of anti-terrorism legislation.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) agreed with the Security Council assessment that national efforts to combat terrorism had to be redoubled.  For  its part, his Government had already submitted its third report to the Counter-Terrorism Committee and a legislation package to its Parliament, thus, proving  its commitment to dialogue and action.  Legislation and the ratification of conventions, however, were not enough.  In that regard, he called on the Committee to address the issue of compliance enhancement.

Acknowledging the importance of identifying benchmarks to be met by all States, he added that, in order to continue being successful, the Committee would have to work in a transparent manner and establish guidelines based on the equal treatment of all Member States.  He further suggested that such guidelines be drawn from other international and regional bodies active in the counter-terrorism arena.  Envisioning a stronger Committee, he pledged his Government’s expertise in enhancing compliance efforts.

Referring to the Council’s declaration that anti-terrorism measures must comply with international obligations with respect to human rights and humanitarian law, he emphasized that human rights should never fall victim to the fight against terrorism.  He acknowledged that, at times, it was difficult to balance the enjoyment of human rights with security concerns.  Nevertheless, legal standards addressing those difficulties did indeed exist and, thus, had to be taken into account.

OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the scourge of terrorism must be fought with all means provided for in the United Nations Charter and international treaties and norms.  The international community must act firmly and with respect for international law, in particular, for human rights law and humanitarian law.  There was no other solution.  The integrity, stability, democracy and freedom of countries were at stake.

He said in June 2002 the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism had been adopted, which addressed cooperation in the fight against financing of terrorism.  All member States of the Rio Group had complied with the provision of resolution 1373 to submit reports and additional information to the Committee. The serious threat of terrorism required a permanent dialogue, as well as stepped-up cooperation and international assistance towards adoption of measures to effectively prevent, combat and eliminate the scourge.

He said the fight against terrorism also demanded resolute cooperation among regional and subregional organizations and United Nations agencies.  He hoped the 7 March meeting between the Committee and those organizations would result in a joint programme of action.  The draft comprehensive convention against terrorism could no longer be delayed.  The difficulty of finding a precise definition of terrorism was no excuse for postponement.  He hoped that dialogue and understanding would make an early conclusion of work on the convention possible.

VALERY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine) said that last month’s ministerial meeting had given a new impetus to the global efforts against terrorism.  Although Iraq remained at the centre of international attention, anti-terrorism efforts remained high on the agenda.  The events of 11 September, following by terrorist attacks all over the world, including those in Bali, Moscow and Bogota, reminded Member States that sustained global action was required.  The Council should continue to play a central role in the counter-terrorism activities, as reiterated by the recent resolution of the Council.

He went on to say that the Counter-Terrorism Committee was making an extremely important practical contribution at international, local and regional levels.  His country fully supported the Committee’s efforts to provide assistance to individual countries, specifically by developing expertise and providing advice on the matter.  That was only one task, however.  It was also necessary to address such related problems as arms and drugs trafficking, money-laundering and international crime.  Ethnic and religious intolerance continued to breed terrorism.  It was necessary to strengthen the non-proliferation regime for weapons of mass destruction.  It was heartening that those issues had been underlined in the January ministerial declaration of the Council.

In his country, he continued, paramount attention was paid to the establishment of a national system for combating money-laundering and terrorism financing, and several domestic laws had been adopted to that effect.  Exchanges of information and sustained interaction between States had a great potential in strengthening the global anti-terrorism coalition.  Various international forums, including international conferences, were of particular importance.  Recently, one such conference had been held in Kiev.  He hoped it would contribute to the struggle against terrorism at the regional level.  The country’s national reports had been submitted to the Committee.  His country was now party to all anti-terrorism conventions.

LUIS GUILLERMO GIRALDO (Colombia), aligning himself with Peru’s statement on behalf of the Rio Group, said the terrorist acts his country had been suffering lately highlighted the international dimension of the Colombian internal conflict. He thanked the Council for adopting resolution 1465 (2003) condemning the terrorist attack in Bogotá on 7 February.  The day after adoption of that resolution on Friday last week, another bomb attack had been carried out, killing 15 and wounding 50 and destroying more than 70 houses.  The guerrilla force of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had announced its intention to carry out more terrorist attacks of that nature.

He said the protracted conflict in his country had an internal and an external aspect.  Regarding the external aspect, he said the terrorist attacks in his country were possible because of the deadly alliance between illicit drug trafficking and the guerrillas.  Explosives were acquired externally and paid for through international bank accounts fed by drug trafficking, as were arms that fuelled the conflict.  That was why Colombia could not stand alone in its struggle against terrorism and the worldwide drug problem.

The cooperation of the international community was needed, not only financially, but also through the use of effective judicial and police actions, such as imposed by resolution 1373, he said.  With regard to the international aspects of the Colombian internal conflict, he asked the United Nations to point out alternatives that would induce the international community to support the people and the States who worked to preserve the high principle of the Organization and that strove daily to protect the dignity of individuals.

ALTAY CENGIZER (Turkey) surmised that every other sane person in the world was asking himself or herself what ominous developments could be taking place right now in some clandestine quarter, where certain technological devices might end up in the hands of terrorists.  Associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, he said that greater and more effective international cooperation was needed to combat terrorism.  Unfortunately, some still equivocated when it came to fully denouncing terrorism.  Whatever the root causes, the world could not now start to grade the forms of terrorism.  “Let us now see the need for strengthened mutual respect, so that we can, in all sincerity, pool the timeless wisdom of the East and West together”, he urged.

He said that terrorism was aimed at the very core of democracy and had started to erode the very tenets of civilizations worldwide.  States should refrain from encouraging and assisting terrorists, or facilitating and tolerating their activities on their territories.  Given the technical prowess of “latter-day terrorists” and the capabilities created by modern technology, as well as the relative ease of communication, transportation and border crossings, abetting terrorist groups was tantamount to knowingly organizing them.

In a world where terrorists could plan and operate globally, institutionalizing cooperation among States and ensuring the smooth functioning of relevant international conventions were stark priorities, he said.  Likewise, States should reinstate mechanisms to follow the flow of funds controlled by suspected and/or avowedly radical groups.  The nexus of money laundering/arms trafficking/drug trafficking should not be left to fester.

ABDULLAH M. ALSAIDI (Yemen) said the proposals presented to the Council in January could provide an important contribution to future work.  The phenomenon of international terrorism remained one of the main challenges before the international community today.  It did not stop at State borders, striking all countries of the world.  That required coordination of efforts on the basis of a clear analysis of the situation.  His country welcomed the international consensus on the need to combat the international scourge of terrorism.  His country was also suffering from that phenomenon, with 17 acts of terrorism recorded there.  The measures undertaken by the country to combat terrorism were described in its report to the Committee.

The delegation of Yemen would spare no effort to achieve agreement on an international convention on international terrorism, he said.  The convention must emphasize the terrorist acts committed by individuals, groups and States. 

Regarding efforts to combat terrorism, he added that certain current practices did not serve their intended purpose.  For example, efforts to identify Islam with terrorism was slander, in contravention of the desire to achieve the goals of the collective campaign against terrorism.  He also noted selectivity and double standards in the implementation of international resolutions, in particular, in the Middle East, saying that the Palestinian people should not be deprived of their right to resist occupation. 

Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, ADAMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece) said that the crime of terrorism was one of the most serious common challenges facing the international community today.  The Union categorically condemned all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, irrespective of their motivation.  The fight against that scourge, however, must be carried out in accordance with the rule of law, including human rights law, and in case of an armed conflict, humanitarian law.  The Union recognized the central role of the United Nations in that respect.  Universal implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and other relevant resolutions was a matter of continuing priority and urgency to the Union and its Member States.

Turning to the work of the Committee, he said that the Union supported the confidential dialogue that the Committee had established with the interested States and the advice and guidance that it offered them.  As the Chairman had pointed out on 20 January, the majority of Member States had begun to respond to the challenge laid down in resolution 1373.  He urged those States that had not yet submitted a report to the Committee to fulfil their obligations within the allocated time framework.  The Union also welcomed the declaration annexed to resolution 1456, which reaffirmed the severity of the threat posed by terrorist acts and called on all States to suppress such acts.

The Union, for its part, was playing an important role in the provision of assistance to countries in their efforts to better implement resolution 1373, he continued.  It had identified a number of pilot countries for the purpose of launching new assistance projects in the field of counter-terrorism.  The Union had already submitted three reports to the Committee –- the latest one last month -- in view of the upcoming special meeting on 7 March.  The Union had also established an executive mechanism to prevent and suppress terrorist financing, through which it developed and reviewed a common list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts.  Close cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism was being developed with third countries.  Plans were being developed to improve police and enhance judicial cooperation in Member States.  The European Arrest Warrant provided for simplified surrender procedures between judicial authorities of Member States.

The 12 United Nations Conventions and Protocols and their implementation played a pivotal role in the fight against terrorism, he said, and Union members were committed to the ratification and rapid implementation of all those instruments.  The Union also supported the early conclusion by consensus of the negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism and the adoption of the draft convention on nuclear terrorism.  Regarding the proposals, made during the January meeting, he added that follow-up was needed in the competent organs of the United Nations.  The Union had on 10 December 2001 launched a targeted initiative aimed at reducing the risk of non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, radioactive materials and means of delivery.

ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina), aligning himself with Peru’s statement on behalf of the Rio Group, said Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya and the Russian Federation, among others, had recently suffered from extremely brutal terrorist attacks.  In 1992, international terrorism had destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and in 1994 destroyed the Israeli Argentine Mutual Association. International terrorism had aligned itself with transnational criminal organization, used new technologies, acquired weapons of mass destruction and availed itself of loopholes in the global financial system.

The United Nations was in a unique position to establish a global coalition against terrorism to guarantee global legitimacy in the long-term fight, he said. Following the 11 September attacks, the Council had set up the Counter-Terrorism Committee, which had demonstrated its effectiveness.  Argentina had subscribed to all provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) and had cooperated with the Committee in all aspects.  In addition to assisting States in improving legislation, the Committee should also monitor implementation of that legislation.  The success of global cooperation against terrorism must be based on a framework.  He urged States to double efforts to reach consensus on the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism and the convention on nuclear terrorism.

He said injustices, such as extreme poverty, that criminals used as motivation for their acts could not be ignored.  Since adoption of the Millennium Declaration, much had happened, and poverty and despair had increased. The concept of security was now broader than it had been traditionally.  The Declaration on Combating Terrorism of 12 November 2001 had affirmed that questions of development and poverty must be taken into account in the fight against the scourge.  The Group of 7 industrialized countries must understand they could do something to solve the problems by addressing, for instance, unjust trade barriers.  The climate of despair that generated terrorism should not be overlooked.

JEANETTE NDHLOVU (South Africa) said that South Africa and other African countries had fully engaged in the process of self-assessment of their legislative and executive machinery, initiated by resolution 1373 (2001).  With the assistance of the experts of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, those nations had identified areas that should be strengthened in the legislative framework for combating terrorism, and they were taking the necessary corrective actions. The ministerial-level debate on 20 January had highlighted the importance of preserving the remarkable and unprecedented international cooperation that had been built since the tragic events of 11 September 2001.  Some speakers at that meeting had rightly stressed that the international community must not become divided by new and controversial military campaigns.

She said that the message from that debate had been that no individual government could unilaterally defeat non-State terrorist actors that operated with sophisticated technologies, communications and resources on a global scale, virtually oblivious to State boundaries.  It was equally apparent that multilateral cooperation and respect for international law, human rights and global norms regarding the protection of civil liberties was the bedrock of the collective effort to eradicate the terrorism scourge.  A comprehensive approach to defeating it meant addressing its root causes.  No legislative measures and no amount of police action, intelligence gathering or military force could guarantee safety, while the basic needs of millions of disaffected and marginalized peoples across the globe were overlooked.

Nowhere was that more apparent than in the Middle East, where the Palestinian people had been subjected for more than 30 years to the devastating impact of illegal occupation, and daily humiliations and sufferings associated with Israel’s violent policy of settlement expansionism, she said.  The success or failure of the Council’s counter-terrorism efforts largely depended on how it addressed such crises.  Terrorism was just one of a number of often interrelated threats to security.  In southern Africa, millions of people were threatened by starvation and poverty.  State resources that were already stretched to the breaking point in some countries to address the issue of food security were ill-equipped to handle the complexities of counter-terrorism.  Counter-terrorism assistance must be made available to those in need.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said his country had suffered immensely from acts of terrorism and, thus, had a strong interest in the subject.  It was determined to leave no stone unturned in achieving the objectives of resolution 1373 (2001).  In addition to submitting initial and supplementary reports to the Counter-Terrorism Committee, many existing laws had made terrorist acts punishable, and two comprehensive draft legislations, namely, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act, were under consideration in the Cabinet and Parliament.  The latter set out a legal and practical mechanism to halt financial and other support of terrorist groups, and the former addressed the issue in all its aspects.  Pending their adoption, practical arrangements had been made to increase security in sensitive areas and enhance the money-laundering mechanisms in the banking system.

He said that, after 11 September 2001, special measures were adopted along Iran’s long and porous eastern borders, with a view to interdicting Al Qaeda infiltration.  Law enforcement agencies were also engaged in extensive operations to arrest suspected terrorists that might have entered Iranian territory from neighbouring countries.  As a result of such activities, several hundred foreign nationals suspected of being involved in terrorist activities had been arrested and handed over to the governments of their countries of origin.  Terrorism was a persistent menace that required a global response, however.  Continued and more extensive cooperation globally was only possible if the United Nations played a central and coordinating role by setting effective international norms and by issuing a clear message on the unacceptability of acts of violence targeting civilians.

There was a strong need to address more seriously and in an institutionalized framework the strong links between terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, he said.  Iran had suffered tremendously in combating drug trafficking emanating from Afghanistan.  Despite the efforts of the Afghan Government, drug trafficking continued to provide the financial backbone of terrorists and forces of instability in Afghanistan, threatening the impressive achievements of the international community and the Afghan people.  Given that drug trafficking was inseparable from terrorism and was being carried out by well organized and equipped international gangs, combating it went beyond the resources of individual countries.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee had yet to take actions aimed at implementing the relevant paragraph of resolution 1373 (2001) concerning that close connection and the need to enhance efforts at all levels.

LUBLIN DILJA (Albania) said that he agreed with the messages expressed in the ministerial declaration annexed to resolution 1456.  There was, however, still much more work to be done in combating terrorism.  In that regard, he called for greater imagination, vigilance and commitment.

Declaring that his Government had made the fight against terrorism a national priority, he said that it was in the process of adopting appropriate legislation and ratifying related international conventions and protocols.  Before concluding, he said that he would be in the first row of seats aboard the anti-terrorist vehicle being driven by the Committee.

GLYN BERRY (Canada) said that the Council’s January declaration was a valuable addition to the sound foundation laid by resolution 1373 (2001) and the existing international legal counter-terrorism framework.  Woven into the most recent resolution was the notion of cooperation.  Where one international partner was vulnerable to terrorism, all were at a risk.  Canada viewed the creation of an international network of mutual legal assistance treaties as an important step in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.  It also supported the Council’s call for States to assist one another to improve their capacity to prevent and fight terrorism.

As with official development assistance (ODA), donor States needed to avoid duplication and ensure that gaps were filled in the provision of counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance, he said.  It was important to avoid increasing the administrative burden on recipient States.  Canada was working with some donors towards that end, but would encourage others to join it in exchanging information.  Turning to the role of the Counter-Terrorism Committee as a focal point for the coordination of counter-terrorism capacity, he said his country was looking for more guidance from the Committee on priorities and on ways it could help.  The Committee had capably fulfilled its mandate to date, and he congratulated the Chairman on his leadership.

As noted by resolution 1456 (2003), there was a need to strengthen controls on nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, he said.  International treaties were key mechanisms to help strengthen disarmament objectives and curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Canada had been actively participating in the negotiation of a well defined convention on the protection of nuclear materials and was looking forward to the successful conclusion of negotiations next month.  The country would also be making an additional extrabudgetary voluntary contribution of Can$ 150,000 to the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Action Plan.  Export Control Supplier Regimes, such as the Nuclear Supplier Group and the Australia Group, in which Canada was very active, helped ensure that materials and technology that could contribute to the spread of weapons of mass destruction did not end up in unwanted hands. 

VICTOR MANUEL LAGOS PIZZATI (El Salvador), aligning himself with Peru’s statement on behalf of the Rio Group, said terrorism in all its forms represented a global threat that could only be tackled with united efforts and close cooperation, which should be coordinated by the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  His Government had complied at the national and the subregional level with all provisions of the Council resolutions on the issue and had offered cooperation and support to the Counter-Terrorism Committee.  It had submitted a first and two supplementary reports.

He said his country served as Chair of the Inter-American Counter-Terrorism Committee, which had had its third session in January and resulted in the adoption of the Declaration of San Salvador.  That Declaration called for strengthening cooperation of Member States in counter-terrorism, and urged Member States that had not yet done so to accede to international conventions regarding terrorism. Last week, the legislative assembly of his country had ratified the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, as well as the Convention against Terrorist Bombing, the Convention against Financing of Terrorism, and the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, including additional Protocols.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that today’s discussion created a sense of overall support and momentum, which were extremely important to the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

Commenting on various ideas expressed in the debate, he said that the Committee was extremely conscious of the need to create a global network in the fight against terrorism, which was reflected in the 1456 declaration.  He assured the Members of the United Nations that in the follow-up to the ministerial meeting, States would be taken at their own merits.  As long as each State was working at its own capacity, the Committee would provide it with assistance. 

There was also much comment regarding regional activities, he continued.  The declaration said that States should assist each other in their fight against terrorism.  While the Organization of American States (OAS) was in the lead for its cohesiveness and detail put into its programme, all the regional organizations were ahead from where they had been a year and a half ago.  It was in individual countries’ interests to keep terrorism out of their territory, for there were deep disadvantages in allowing terrorism to grow.

Regarding the importance of collective efforts, he said that there was a growth of bilateral and multilateral activities and exchange of best practices.  He hoped the meeting on 7 March would not just be a collection of “information handouts”, but an exchange on how to fill vulnerability gaps based on practices elsewhere.  The European Union, Japan and Australia had made it clear how much was being done in each region.

Also, priorities must be set, and the Committee was prepared to provide its assistance in that respect, he said.  Also mentioned in today’s debate were connections between organized crime and international terrorism, which also needed to be addressed.  He hoped the structures now put in place would prove valuable in creating a much more cohesive structure for keeping the weapons of mass destruction from the wrong hands.  Requests for greater transparency and help for guidelines were being listened to by the Committee.

He added that the Committee must be careful not to do everything by itself, and, it should, thus, involve relevant international organizations in such issues as customs assistance.  The 7 March meeting would also help to further develop global guidelines.  In the future, under his successor, the Committee should develop into a more professional body.  It was increasing its effectiveness and expertise.  Enough had been planned; the time had come for action. 

Taking the floor to respond to a statement made earlier in the meeting, FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said Syria had always cherished the fact that it was one of the foremost countries that had fought terrorism and had succeeded in doing so.  It had cooperated with all countries of the world to defeat it.  Its election to the Security Council was an appreciation of Syria’s role in political life.  In the Middle East, it had done everything possible to combat terrorism. 

Palestinians in Syria, estimated at more than 400,000, had been the victims of Israeli terrorism, he continued.  The whole world heard and saw the Israeli terrorist practices, beginning in 1948 when the country was based on terrorist organizations.  Evidence of the work Israeli terrorist gangs was well known to all, including the recent killing of United Nations officials in the West Bank and Gaza.  Israel had killed more than 2,180 Palestinians in the past two years alone, and 30 Palestinians in the past one and one-half days.  That was “one Palestinian every hour”. 

The problem with Israel was that it only thought about its children, its occupation and the need to maintain it, he said.  Palestinian children were being killed every single day, while Israeli tanks were at their doors to stop them from going to school.  According to Israeli logic, they were not human beings.  Occupation was terrorism -- the apex of terrorism, the ultimate example.  Syria would continue its close cooperation with all countries to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, and it would support implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) in all its aspects.

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For information media. Not an official record.