4892nd Meeting (AM)
THREAT POSED BY AL QAEDA, TALIBAN MUST REMAIN TOP INTERNATIONAL
CONCERN, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD
But Lack of Reporting by Governments Hinders Work, Committee Chairman Says
As tragic terrorist attacks continued, the threat posed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban must remain a top international concern, Heraldo Muñoz (Chile), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established to oversee implementation of sanctions imposed on Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, told the Security Council this morning.
Briefing the Council on the 1267 Committee’s activities during the second half of 2003, Mr. Muñoz said it had been a busy year. The issues before the Committee had been diverse: new names were added to the Committee’s consolidated list; the analysis of States’ reports continued, despite a disappointing response rate, including through the Committee’s more targeted approach regarding key themes; and the Committee’s ability to assess implementation on the ground had been enhanced by the work of the Monitoring Group and through visits undertaken to selected States.
The Committee was seriously hindered in providing the assessments called for when less than half of the Member States had reported, he stated. To date, 93 reports had been submitted under resolution 1455 (2003), while 98 States (51 per cent) had not submitted reports. Among the possible reasons for non-compliance were lack of political will, reporting fatigue, lack of resources and technical capacity and coordination difficulties at the national level.
A review of the reports received so far showed that many States had taken positive steps towards curbing the financing of Al Qaeda activities, including enacting specific legislation, where necessary. More improvements were needed in the areas of freezing assets other than bank accounts, as well as the travel ban. Also, the reports indicated that the arms embargo was the most difficult of the measures in the sanctions regime to implement.
In 2003, Mr. Muñoz had undertaken two separate visits to selected countries, during which he travelled to 10 countries in regions including the Arabian Gulf, Europe, West Asia and South-East Asia. In 2004, the Committee would seek to help ensure that all States continued to focus on the terrorist challenge and that their national counter-terrorist measures encompassed appropriate policies and actions.
As delegations took the floor, there was wide agreement that the menace posed by Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their associates remained a major threat to international peace and security. As such, the work of the 1267 Committee was crucial to the long-term and multifaceted struggle to combat terrorism.
Speakers welcomed the visits and consultations undertaken by Mr. Muñoz, which they felt were extremely useful in developing a dialogue with States, as well as for assessing the situation on the ground. Those activities also allowed the Committee, they noted, to determine the special difficulties of States in the implementation of sanctions. It was agreed that such practices should be continued in the future.
At the same time, many delegations lamented the fact that less than 50 per cent of United Nations Member States had presented reports on the implementation of the relevant sanctions as requested in resolution 1455. Brazil’s representative called for a careful assessment of the reasons for that lack of conformity.
He added that the very nature of the 1267 sanctions regime had led to difficulties in the implementation of the sanctions that went beyond the lack of consistency in reporting. They included possible conflict between the sanctions regime and basic international human rights standards, such as due process. Among other hindrances were the difficulty in implementing the freezing of non-financial assets, resurfacing of listed entities under new names and the use of charitable institutions as fronts for the financing of terrorist activities.
Although Al Qaeda today was a shadow of its past, remarked Pakistan’s representative, the nature of the threat -- even if more diffused -– was even more complex. Terrorists had conducted operations in many countries, including his own, and the international community must be responsive to the mutating threat before it. In addition, countries should be evaluated not only on the basis of their reports, but also on the basis of their actions on the ground. It was necessary to search for long-term solutions and address the root causes of terrorism, including poverty, religious prosecution and injustice.
The representative of the United Kingdom said much could be done to encourage implementation of relevant resolutions, and highlighted the importance of providing technical assistance and resources to States which required it as a key element in the fight against terrorism. The Committee must remain proactive in its efforts to facilitate such assistance. It was important to develop best practices and outline successful actions in various areas, he added.
Statements were also made this morning by the representatives of the United States, Germany, France, China, Algeria, Spain, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Benin, Angola, Romania, Indonesia, Ireland (on behalf of the European Union), Liechtenstein, Japan, Switzerland and Syria.
The meeting, which began at 10:20 a.m., adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to review the work of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), otherwise known as the Taliban/Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, or the “1267” Committee.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter on 15 October 1999, the Council established the Committee, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1267. The Committee was to report to the Council on the impact of the measures imposed by that resolution, to consider alleged violations, and to ask States for information on their implementation.
Those measures included a demand that the Taliban turn over Osama bin Laden to appropriate authorities in a country where he would be brought to justice. The Council also decided that all States would freeze funds and prohibit the take-off and landing of Taliban-owned aircraft, unless or until the Taliban complied with that demand.
At the time of the adoption of that resolution, Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda had been indicted by the United States for, among other things, his role in the 7 August 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, and for conspiring to kill United States nationals.
The Council decided on 17 January 2003, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1455 (2003), to improve implementation of the wider measures taken against the Taliban and members of Al Qaeda, including: freezing of funds and other financial resources of the Taliban, as well as that of Osama Bin Laden and individuals and entities associated with him, as designated by the Committee; an arms embargo; and travel bans.
Prior to that, on 19 December 2000, the Council asked the Committee to maintain an updated list, based on information provided by States and regional organizations, of the individuals and entities designated as being associated with Osama bin Laden, including those in the Al Qaeda organization.
The Council was last briefed by the Chairman of the 1267 Committee on 29 July 2003, when it was told that implementing the arms embargo, freezing of assets, and travel ban called for in resolution 1267 (1999) and subsequent resolutions was a daunting task against a dangerous and determined foe. Thus, the effectiveness of the measures adopted to deal with the threat must be addressed on a regular basis to determine how they could be strengthened and improved. (For details, see Press Release SC/7830 of 29 July 2003.)
The Committee is one of two established by the Council to combat terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Committee was established by resolution 1373 (2001) following the 11 September 2001 attack on the United States. It is not a sanctions body, but rather monitors steps taken by States, through the adoption of laws and regulations and the creation of administrative structures concerning terrorist finance, customs and border control, among others, to combat terrorism.
The Council had before it a letter dated 1 December 2003 from the Chairman of the Committee to the Council President transmitting the second report of the Monitoring Group pursuant to resolution 1455 (2003) (document S/2003/1070).
By the terms of that resolution, the Secretary-General was asked to reappoint five experts, drawing on the expertise of the members of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to resolution 1363 (2001), to monitor, for a further 12 months, implementation of the measures against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda organization (detailed in the first operative paragraph of that text) and to follow up relevant leads relating to any incomplete implementation of those measures.
Briefing by Committee Chairman
Council President HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile), speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), said that the assessment he would provide today would also serve as the fourth 90-day report on the work of the Committee and the Monitoring Group. It had been a busy year, he noted, and the issues before the Committee had been diverse: new names were added to the Committee’s consolidated list; the analysis of States’ reports continued, despite a disappointing response rate, including through the Committee’s more targeted approach regarding key themes; and finally, the Committee’s ability to assess implementation on the ground had been enhanced by the work of the Monitoring Group and through his and the Committee members’ travel to selected States.
The Committee appreciated that many States had provided comprehensive reports in accordance with the reporting guidelines, he said. However, the fact that only 93 such reports had so far been submitted to the Committee presented a severe limitation. Those reports were one of many important facets of the international cooperation in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, just as they served as only one of several components used in assessing Member State implementation of the Council’s measures. The Monitoring Group monitored States’ implementation through visits to selected countries and establishing contacts with government officials and others responsible for sanctions implementation at the national level.
In October and December 2003, he said he undertook two separate visits to selected countries, during which he visited 10 countries in regions, including the Arabian Gulf, Europe, West Asia and South-East Asia. While he felt that his visits helped the authorities concerned to better understand the Committee’s work and objectives, through his reports the Committee also learned something in each country visited about how the States concerned were taking steps to implement the measures and otherwise addressed the threats posed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
As he had already briefed the Council on his October visits, on 24 October and 12 November, he said he would touch on the December visits, as they related to today’s assessment, as well as to the future work of the Committee. Among the many topics he discussed in Europe, the most prominent included: the definition and freezing of non-financial and other economic resources pursuant to the resolution; the challenges posed in implementing the travel ban; and concerns involving the Committee’s consolidated list, human rights and due process.
In at least one of the States visited, he had been informed that several banned entities had resurfaced with new names that had been detected by the authorities. Also, one frontline State had provided him with detailed information on actions taken and resources committed to secure its borders to prevent infiltration by listed individuals or their associates. In that connection, he was told that any implementation failure was one of technical capacity and not of will.
Several countries visited described how their domestic legal framework had been enhanced, including through the preparation and/or enactment of new anti-money laundering legislation, he continued. One overarching theme that kept recurring in meetings with different States was the vital necessity of improving international cooperation in various areas. Some of the cooperation that his visits had helped to foster could be measured through the clear commitments that were made by the authorities in several States to submit new information, including updated country reports, as well as the names of individuals and entities belonging to or associated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, for inclusion in the Consolidated List.
He said a review of the reports received so far showed that many States had taken positive steps towards curbing the financing of Al Qaeda activities, including enacting specific legislation, where necessary. Several countries were in the process of upgrading their legislation and enforcement capabilities. However, there were still some States that had yet to show the same preparedness.
The reports submitted showed that one area where improvement was needed was the freezing of assets other than bank accounts, he stated. That might be addressed by requesting States to take a more proactive approach in locating and freezing those assets. In cases where the impediments for doing so referred to the lack of a legal framework, States should be encouraged and assisted in establishing the necessary legal provisions. In that regard, the promotion of greater collaboration within the realm of international financial regulatory institutions, as well as the ratification by all States of the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, would be valuable. The cash flows for terrorist activities continued to be a problem, but in his visits he had received interesting suggestions to address that aspect of terrorist financing. Also, more efforts would be needed to cut the growing link between the drug trade and terrorism financing.
Turning to the travel ban, he said that its full implementation was intrinsically dependent on the quality and credibility of the list. In general, States’ reports highlighted the shortcomings of the list and the difficulties they experienced in implementing the travel ban. Approximately one third of States who had reported had yet to incorporate the whole list or parts of it into their national watch lists. The main reason cited was the absence of sufficient identifiers. Only half of the States reported that they both regularly transmitted the updated list to their border control authorities and had the capability to perform an electronic search. Several States had requested financial and technical assistance to upgrade their border control facilities and enhance their capabilities. Improving the list and increasing the technical capacity of States were two ways that could lead to more effective implementation of the travel ban.
The reports received would indicate that the arms embargo was the most difficult of the measures in the sanctions regime to implement, he continued. The possession, manufacturing and sale of arms were generally seen as matters of national security, thus rendering it difficult to assess the effectiveness of that crucial measure. Analysis of the reports revealed an inconsistency regarding the interpretation of the scope of the arms embargo. The information provided concerning the arms embargo covered primarily conventional arms, thus indicating that the measures in place might not be sufficient to control dual-use technology and other sensitive material that might be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction. Addressing the shortcomings would require a more specific and targeted formulation of the arms embargo to meet the new reality of terrorist warfare of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, including explicit mention of goods and material related to weapons of mass destruction.
The best way to avoid the diversion of weapons and dangerous material to Al Qaeda was also through the strengthening of cooperation at the regional and international levels, he said. Moreover, the ratification and implementation by all States of the requirements of arms-related international conventions was crucial.
To date, 93 reports had been submitted under resolution 1455 (2003), he said, while 98 States (51 per cent) had not submitted a report under that resolution. The Committee was seriously hindered in providing the assessments called for when less than half of the Member States had reported. Those States should be identified for their non-compliance with Council resolutions. As to the possible reasons for non-compliance, in addition to lack of political will, possible other factors included reporting fatigue, lack of resources and technical capacity and coordination difficulties at the national level.
The threat posed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban needed to remain a top international concern for obvious reasons, he said. The dimension of the challenge posed by Al Qaeda, in particular, was all too apparent, as the tragic terrorist attacks unfortunately continued. The Committee’s work in 2004 would have a principal underlying objective in that regard: “We need to help ensure that all States continue to focus on the terrorist challenge and that their national counter-terrorist measures encompass appropriate policies and actions.” He looked forward to a busy year, based on direct dialogue with Member States to improve shared counter-terrorism efforts. The Committee would maintain a proactive approach in its work, and one that was marked by transparency and responsiveness. In that connection, he would continue to enhance the Committee’s guidelines and working procedures and would welcome inputs from Member States.
The Committee was also committed to keeping open channels of communications with all Member States, as well as with regional and technical organizations. That was why he was planning to hold periodic open briefings to all States on the Committee’s work to facilitate further dialogue. International terrorism sponsored by Al Qaeda and those associated with that network continued to pose one of the greatest threats to international peace and security.
STUART HOLLIDAY (United States) said that 2003 had clearly been a busy year for the 1267 Committee -- an essential component of international anti-terrorism efforts. Freezing of assets, in particular, remained an important priority. It was also necessary to focus on such phenomena as informal movement of funds. Vigilance and creative enforcement approaches were needed.
He welcomed the Committee’s intention to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the topics involved. It was, indeed, time for the Committee’s work to become more focused, and he hoped that the draft to be presented to the Council would reflect that. He looked forward to constructive negotiations to confront the threat of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Counter-terrorism expectations for States should be set high -– not low. The Committee must explore key issues and explore Al Qaeda hotspots around the world. In that regard, some States and some issues warranted closer attention than others. He strongly encouraged willing States to do more.
For its part, the United States intended to continue its efforts to better confront the danger of terrorism. Given the shifting nature of threats, new actions were needed. For example, his Government was concerned over new threats in ports. He believed that his country’s cooperation with its geographical neighbours must be supplemented by joint police work and intelligence gathering.
The United States remained strongly committed to help willing countries that were unable to implement anti-terrorism measures, he continued. Increased assistance was important. It was also necessary to recognize that unwilling States must first be encouraged and, if necessary, pressured to do more. Weak links should not undermine shared counter-terrorism objectives. In particular, he was disappointed that less than half of Member States had submitted reports to the Committee. That greatly hindered the Committee’s work.
At this point, it was important to evaluate concrete progress in the work of the Committee, he said. While some progress had been achieved, the international community must not lose sight of what was needed in the future. International efforts should not come to an end while the danger of terrorism still remained. The United States would do it part and encouraged other governments to do the same.
WOLFGANG TRAUTWEIN (Germany) said the United Nations sanctions regime targeting members or associates of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban remained a major tool for combating terrorism on a global scale. Commending Ambassador Muñoz for his dedication and tireless efforts to improve the system in close cooperation with all partners, he expressed particular appreciation for his recent visits to several Member States, including Germany. Substantive discussions held and the results achieved testified to the fact that the Committee’s work was based on an effective, even-handed and transparent approach. The dialogue had been also intensified by inviting some interested Member States to directly present their views in a meeting of the Committee and by holding today’s meeting of the Council. Thus, through several initiatives, Ambassador Muñoz had succeeded in setting high standards for strengthening the Committee’s profile as a trusted partner.
He said the substantive findings and recommendations contained in the latest report of the Monitoring Group deserved thorough analysis and should be duly reflected in the upcoming resolution. He joined the Chairman in his appeal to those Member States, which had not fully and proactively cooperated with the Committee, to make renew efforts to do so, including by submitting long outstanding reports.
A seminar on terrorism and targeted sanctions, held last November as a joint initiative by the European Union, Sweden and Germany, had explored ways to introduce at least some elements of due process into the sanctions regime in order to avoid the targeting of innocent individuals. Such measures would increase the system’s credibility and effectiveness, he concluded.
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIERE (France) thanked Ambassador Muñoz for his briefing on the work of the 1267 Committee. It was clear that the multifaceted threat of Al Qaeda and the Taliban persisted. That network exploited the weaknesses of States. To combat that threat, the Council had developed a sanctions regime, which had been gradually improved year after year. The main problem, as indicated by Ambassador Muñoz, was the lack of cooperation or insufficient cooperation by many Member States. He was surprised that more than half of Member States had not responded to the appeal made in 2003.
The Committee had helped Member States facing special difficulties and had, on a case-by-case basis, provided assistance. The Council must advance the sanctions regime. The dialogue with Member States, visits and analysis provided an indication of areas where progress was needed. He thanked the Chairman for the recommendations on how the system of sanctions could be enhanced. That adaptation of the sanctions regime was vital to make it as effective as possible. It was important to take time every year to examine the sanctions regime and ways to improve the fight against Al Qaeda. That was vital for the effectiveness of the anti-terrorism struggle.
ZHANG YISHAN (China) noted with satisfaction the progress in the work of the Committee in implementing resolution 1267. It was no exaggeration that the Committee had become an indispensable part of international anti-terrorist efforts. Despite progress, however, there were still signs of activities carried out by Al Qaeda. Terrorism was acquiring new features, and in order to better meet the changing reality, it was important to further strengthen the sanctions regime. Combating Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated individuals was in the common interests of all Member States, and he hoped all the countries concerned would submit their reports in a timely manner.
Regarding future efforts, he said the Committee should enhance its cooperation with various countries, including through the provision of technical assistance. Measures should be taken to improve the applicability of the Consolidated List, which should be made more comprehensive. At the same time, it was necessary to ensure that information used was accurate and complete. He supported further coordination between the 1267 Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee and encouraged cooperation with other international bodies involved in anti-terrorism efforts. He hoped consensus on the draft related to the work of the Committee would be reached soon. For its part, his Government was taking part in the anti-terrorism efforts.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) thanked Ambassador Muñoz for his briefing and the visits undertaken last year, as well as for the work of the Monitoring Group. He also appreciated the efforts of the 1267 Committee to fight terrorism, especially the Consolidated List. However, he noted that only 371 names had been listed, which was meagre compared to the number of individuals and organizations linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. That could be due to the hesitation by some States to provide names due to the reluctance by some members of 1267 Committee to accept evidence linking some individuals and organizations with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He called for improved transparency and working methods in order to have a fair consideration of the list of names submitted by States, in order to encourage more recalcitrant States to cooperate with the Committee. He also encouraged Ambassador Muñoz to continue with his travels, which were useful in furthering the work of the Committee.
While the number of reports had doubled, he noted that still only 93 States had submitted their reports under resolution 1455. He hoped that the Committee would provide a report containing a list of those that had not submitted reports, along with the possible reasons for non-compliance. He thanked the Monitoring Group for its work and hoped for better coordination between it and the 1267 Committee. Also, he hoped that cooperation between the 1267 Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee would continue to improve. He also called for strengthening the cooperation between the 1267 Committee and with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
Further, he encouraged the Chairman of the 1267 Committee and the Monitoring Group to continue their visits to the field to examine the implementation of the sanctions regime. He recalled that Algeria had always carried out its responsibility regarding implementing Council resolutions. It had already submitted reports under resolutions 1373, 1390 and 1455. He hoped the new resolution would improve the measures already in place.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain) said that the fight against terrorism was an absolute priority for his country. Unfortunately, the threat of Al Qaeda and the Taliban was still present, and all countries must cooperate in the fight against it. While the Committee had made progress in the past year, its success ultimately depended on such cooperation. He hoped the new resolution would improve the sanctions regime and develop the Committee’s communications with Member States and relevant organizations, as well as the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
He said that continuation of the visits by the Chairman and possible establishment of focal points would be helpful. Transparency must remain a key feature of the work of the Committee. In 2004, a new stage would begin, whose aim would be achievement of better implementation of the freeze of assets, the arms embargo and travel ban against the members and associates of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The experience gained should help to achieve further success.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said that today’s briefing and the report of the Monitoring Group were welcome. The Committee had achieved important success, but it had also encountered difficulties in the implementation of the sanctions regime. A proactive approach was important not only in fact-finding, but also in establishing contacts with Member States. The Committee was faced with a huge task, and it should not carry it out alone. Member States should be encouraged to implement required measures.
Among promising initiatives, he mentioned possible cooperation with INTERPOL. Much could be done to encourage implementation of relevant resolutions, particularly if there was the lack of political will. The provision of technical assistance was a key element in the fight against terrorism. The Committee must remain proactive in its efforts to facilitate such assistance. It was important to develop best practices and outline successful actions in various areas.
Addressing one of the concerns expressed in the report regarding perceived stigma in connection with the presence of Al Qaeda in a country’s territory, he said that as terrorism knew no borders, it was necessary to make sure that there was no stigma attached to admitting that members of the Al Qaeda were present in a particular territory. Rather, such admission should be considered a sign of readiness to confront the situation.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said that international terrorism remained a major threat to international peace and security, and despite serious efforts, the menace presented by Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their associates continued to be one of its most evident manifestations. Repudiation of terrorism, which was contained in his country’s Constitution, was one of the guiding principles of Brazil’s international relations. The participation of Brazil in the work of the Council would faithfully reflect that constitutional provision.
The work of the 1267 Committee was fundamental to countering the peril the international community was facing, he continued. It was unfortunate to note, however, that less than 50 per cent of the United Nations Member States had presented reports on the implementation of the relevant sanctions as requested in resolution 1455. A careful assessment of the reasons for that lack of conformity was needed. It was also necessary to study measures to encourage conformity. The missions to selected countries by the Chairman of the Committee and by the Monitoring Group were useful tools for gathering information regarding the implementation of the sanctions on the ground. They permitted direct contact with high-level officials in charge of the application of the measures.
The very nature of the 1267 sanctions regime had led to difficulties in the implementation of the sanctions that went beyond the lack of consistency in reporting, he said. As highlighted in the presentation, they included possible conflict between the sanctions regime and basic international human rights standards, such as due process. Among other hindrances were the difficulty in implementing the freezing of non-financial assets, resurfacing of listed entities under new names and the use of charitable institutions as fronts for the financing of terrorist activities. Those questions, and others, would have to be addressed in order to achieve further improvement of the measures proposed in resolution 1455.
The commitment to continue efforts to ensure transparency in the Committee was a step in the right direction, he said. Initiatives to improve cooperation with international organizations, such as INTERPOL, were also a prospectively fruitful path to be explored. Efforts to increase cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee and other United Nations bodies involved in the fight against terrorism should also be continued. Given the transnational nature of the terrorism threat, cooperation among the whole international community was indispensable. It was also fundamentally important to ensure that measures adopted in combating terrorism were in conformity with international law and commitments in that field adopted by Member States.
Finally, while terrorism was certainly a scourge, it must be understood that security-related measures alone were not capable of prevailing in the fight against terror. In order to win the “war on terrorism”, it was important to be aware of the interrelation between the threat of international terrorism and the living conditions of a great part of mankind.
LAURO L. BAJA, JR. (Philippines) said that as new measures to combat terrorism were imposed, terrorists used new modes of operation to circumvent those measures. There was, therefore, a need to be constantly vigilant in monitoring terrorists operations. He invited the Committee to also focus on some aspects that could be pursued, such as a targeted approach. There were reports of Al Qaeda enmeshing itself in local conflicts in South-East Asia, co-opting independence movements. The Committee could analyse the complex weave of terrorism and local conflicts that Al Qaeda had been able to exploit.
Stressing the need for both technical capacity and political will to implement anti-terrorism measures, he said technical assistance could be in the form of capacity-building of national institutions concerning border security and the dismantling of financial networks. Because of the ease of travel within South-East Asia, jihad movements had connected with each other in fluid and shifting combinations. He, therefore, welcomed the fact that the Committee would also look into new and non-conventional modes of operations in movement of people, arms and funds and explore technical assistance to plug those loopholes.
Referring to the dialogue of the Chair with the European Union, he said similar value could be derived from such dialogues with other regional groups. Some regional initiatives in counter-terrorism had been undertaken by the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Some years ago, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia had signed an Agreement on the Exchange of Information and Establishment of Communication Procedure to Combat Terrorism, which had since been acceded to by Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam and Brunei Darussalam. In South-East Asia, it was important to understand how Al Qaeda and Taliban could unite disparate groups crossing national and ethnic lines, using their language and traditions.
ALEXANDER KONUZIN (Russian Federation) said the visits and consultations undertaken by Ambassador Muñoz were important, as they were the first steps in developing a dialogue with States on the implementation of the sanctions regime. It allowed for examining the situation on the ground, as well as the special difficulties of States in the implementation of measures. Therefore, such practices should be continued in the future.
In the near future, the Council would adopt a new resolution to improve the parameters of the sanctions regime, he said. In doing so, it was important to take into account the experiences and work of the 1267 Committee and the Monitoring Group in drafting the new text. Their work showed that the scope of the various measures needed clarification. The low level of accountability of Member States had had a negative impact on obtaining a comprehensive analysis of implementation. That made it more difficult to determine the problems with implementation of the current set of sanctions.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that his country was a frontline State in the fight against terrorism. It had deployed some 70,000 troops on its border with Afghanistan in the search for infiltrating members of the Taliban. It was also gathering intelligence information, and recently its efforts had resulted in the capture of over 500 Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives. Although Al Qaeda today was a shadow of its past, the nature of the threat -- even if more diffused -– was even more complex. Terrorists had conducted operations in many countries, including his own, and the international community must be responsive to the mutating threat before it.
He welcomed the Chairman’s visit to several countries, including Pakistan. The visit had been productive and useful in observing at first hand the developments on the ground. Pakistan required financial and technical assistance in its fight against terrorism.
In the future, the Committee’s continued contacts with individual countries were needed, he said. Transparency would allow it to enlist maximum support of the international community. New names should be included on the Consolidated List. There was the need for legal clarity and precision in the preparation of the list to ensure its credibility. Financing of terrorism continued to be a major area of concern, and it was necessary to focus on alternative financing systems. In order to maintain its legitimacy, the Committee must operate within its mandate in compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. Countries should be evaluated not only on the basis of their reports, but on the basis of their actions on the ground, as well. It was necessary to search for long-term solutions and address the root causes of terrorism, including poverty, religious prosecution and injustice.
JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said that in spite of the difficulties, the progress achieved was significant and demonstrated the will of States to combat terrorism, which was one of the major challenges faced by the international community at the start of the new millennium. No country could remain indifferent. Terrorism could strike anywhere. Therefore, the fight against terrorism required increased cooperation due to its transnational nature.
It was also important to study and implement a more effective and long-term strategy to combat the threats inherent in the Al Qaeda and Taliban movement, he said. To be effective, that struggle must be a balanced one, taking into account the specificities of each country. Today’s report showed the difficulties encountered by individual States. He supported the work done by the 1267 Committee, and encouraged joint efforts and coordination between it and the Counter-Terrorism Committee, so that efforts to combat the threat of Al Qaeda and the Taliban would be better integrated into steps at the national level to combat terrorism.
ISMAEL ABRAAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) noted progress in the work of the Committee and welcomed the Chairman’s proactive role in the implementation of its mandate. The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan over the past months clearly demonstrated that the Al Qaeda network was far from being defeated and dismantled. Al Qaeda still represented a real threat to international peace and security. Analysis of country reports was important for evaluating the level of States’ compliance with sanctions regime, and the Committee must address the weakness in reporting.
He emphasized the importance of the Consolidated List and improved guidelines of the Committee, which should encourage Member States’ compliance with relevant resolutions. While the responsibility for the implementation of sanctions rested with Member States themselves, cooperation with international and regional organizations was also of key importance. Creation of monitoring mechanisms and expert bodies was a welcome initiative. Such independent bodies facilitated identification and shaming of violators of sanctions.
For its part, Angola had submitted its report to the Committee, he said. His Government was taking initiatives to prevent and suppress terrorism. For instance, the National Bank of Angola operated in harmony with the efforts to prevent financing of terrorist organizations. National migration-control system had been set up in the country. Angola remained keen to strengthen cooperation with international and regional organizations, including INTERPOL.
Regarding future work, he said that further efforts were still required. Many Al Qaeda sources of funding still remained in place. Action, therefore, must be decisively continued. It was also important not to lose sight of the root causes of terrorism, including social and economic problems prevailing in some areas of the world.
MIHNEA MOTOC (Romania), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union by Ireland, commended the Chair’s recent visits to selected countries and strongly supported continuation of that practice. He expressed concern about the significant number of States that had not submitted the required reports, adding that reporting remained an important tool for assessing the level of implementation of resolution 1455. The quality of reporting must be further improved through a more focused approach. Difficulties encountered by so many States in submitting reports should be addressed, as well.
Regarding regional cooperation in fighting terrorism sponsored by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, he stressed the need for cooperation, consulting on threats and coordination of responses, something which regional organizations and initiatives could help deliver. The most substantial contribution in that field was that of the European Union. In 2001, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with Romania as Chair, had developed the first response in the context of 9/11 and had contributed to the international fight against terrorism.
As cross-border organized crime was a potential breeding ground for terrorist activities, Romania had committed itself to countering that threat at the subregional level, in partnership with South-East European nations. For half a decade now, the South European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Centre for combating transborder crime bad used a unique mechanism of data-sharing and cooperation between national police and customs authorities.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) noted that long before the terrorist attacks of September 2001, his country had been the victim of acts of terrorism. As a result, Indonesia had begun to enforce various measures to mitigate that menace nationally, bilaterally, regionally and internationally. At the national level, a series of decisions and steps were taken not only to uncover the perpetrators of terrorism but also successfully prosecute them. As the network and activities of terrorists went beyond national boundaries, Indonesia had been cooperating with ASEAN, as well as with other countries. Further success in dealing with terrorism would require sustained international efforts along with increased cooperation on a global scale, information sharing and coordination. Such a strategy would also require that all countries willing to participate had the financial and technical means to do so.
On 10 December 2003, his country submitted its national report in compliance with resolution 1455. He welcomed the recommendations in the Chairman’s oral assessment, particularly the commitment to maintain open channels of communications with all Member States, as well as with regional and technical organizations. He hoped that that would further strengthen the basic principles of international cooperation, transparency and spirit of cooperation, which were essential prerequisites to effectively combating terrorism.
As part of those efforts, he informed the Council of an initiative by his Government in cooperation with Australia in holding the Asia-Pacific Regional Ministerial Meeting on Countering Terrorism from 4 to 5 February in Bali. Its theme would be “Strengthening Coordination and Cooperation in Combating Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific Region”. It was hoped that that meeting would be able to impart added momentum to the already vigorous efforts to counter terrorism in the region by focusing on practical and operational goals, identifying new ways of enhancing cooperation, and encouraging more effective collaboration among the region’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the challenges before the Committee remained formidable and numerous. Close dialogue with the wider United Nations membership remained essential, and he welcomed the Committee’s intention to maintain a proactive approach in its work that would be marked by transparency and responsiveness. The Union was keen to establish closer contacts with the Committee.
Among other relevant destinations, Ambassador Muñoz had carried out a successful visit to Europe, he said. Among the issues considered had been a freeze of non-financial and other economic resources, the challenges arising from the implementation of the travel ban and other concerns relating to the Committee’s Consolidated List, including human rights and due process. The fight against terrorism should be conducted with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In that connection, he recalled that Sweden and Germany had recently sponsored a workshop, which brought together over 60 sanctions experts. Among concrete proposals put forward there was a suggestion that relevant resolutions should contain clear criteria and definitions for the listings and their scope. It had been also proposed that individuals on the list should, to the extent possible, be informed about the listing, its reasons and consequences, and that their right to be heard should be further developed.
In the four years since its establishment, the 1267 Committee had proven a tenacious force in the fight against terrorism, he continued. Its ability to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances deserved special mention. As the situation on the ground evolved, so must the measures imposed by the Council. A report of the Monitoring Group was an interesting and comprehensive document, which warranted careful consideration. In the meantime, he stressed the need for greater transparency in the working methods of the Group and in the elaboration of its reports. The European Union recommended that the Group thoroughly check relevant information and data with Member States mentioned in its reports.
The Union fully shared the Group’s concerns about the low turnout of implementation reports called for in resolution 1455 and the indications that the measures envisioned by relevant resolutions had been insufficiently implemented. He called upon all Member States to fully implement the measures set forth in resolution 1455 and reiterated the Union’s determination to cooperate fully with the Committee and the Monitoring Group in that respect. The Union took particular note of the Group’s conclusion that without a tougher and more comprehensive resolution, the role of the United Nations risked becoming marginalized. Therefore, the European Union looked forward to the early adoption of the new resolution.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), reaffirming his country’s commitment to the global fight against terrorism, called for the further enhancement of the sanctions regime imposed by the Security Council against the Taliban and Al Qaeda and its associates. He noted that even as the Council had taken steps to improve the effectiveness and precision of the sanctions and to address humanitarian concerns, as well as those regarding transparency and due process, much work remained to be done. In that respect he encouraged the Council to take a balanced approach. A further strengthening of the sanctions had to be completed with measures aimed at preserving the rule of law.
He said the stronger the impact of Security Council decisions on the rights of individuals, the stronger the need for avenues that allowed individuals to address concerns arising from such decisions. States should not be put in a difficult position regarding their judicial and constitutional standards because of their willingness to implement the measures imposed by the Council.
The Council should also look at potential implementation problems before certain measures were decided, he added, explaining that important practical aspects of the travel ban imposed by the Council had been neglected, and the effectiveness of the measures imposed by the Council would benefit from more in-depth consideration of such practical problems. While Liechtenstein had concerns about the working methods of the Monitoring Group, it recognized at the same time the value and importance of its work and thus pledged its continued cooperation in that regard.
KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) said the international community could not afford to relax its efforts in the fight against terrorism. More than two years had passed since the shock of 9/11, and it was a matter of serious concern that the sense of crisis shared by the international community at that time seemed to be fading. It was very serious that, as observed in the report, Member States’ cooperation with the activities of the 1267 Committee was not adequate. For example, since the establishment of the Consolidated List, there had not been a single report by any Member State of the arrest of any listed individuals at its borders. In some cases, border control authorities in Member States did not receive sufficient information from the List. Those facts indicated that international efforts were not yet sufficient.
He stressed the importance of preventing Iraq from becoming a sanctuary of terrorism and emphasized the need for joint international action to ensure that Afghanistan did not revert to being a safe haven for terrorism. Strict border control policies in the States sharing national borders with Iraq and Afghanistan were essential. Addressing concerns over Al Qaeda’s reported intention to use chemical and biological weapons, he also called for more rigorous arms embargo measures to be taken by all States, so that such materials did not fall into the hands of terrorists. He supported the Monitoring Group’s recommendations in that regard.
There was inadequate cooperation of Member States in the activities of the 1267 Committee, he said. Among the sources of concern, he noted the lack of uniformity in the data related to the list of designated individuals and entities and the lack of transparency in the compilation of the list. The Committee should make further efforts to introduce improvements in that respect. It was extremely important that the updated version of the Consolidated List issued by the 1267 Committee be reflected in the domestic regulations and measures implemented by each Member State without delay.
He added that it would be helpful if the Committee established guidelines on the timing of domestic implementation of updates. As for the activities of certain entities suspected of being associated with terrorists, including charities, it was necessary to ensure their transparency. For example, it would be useful to work out means of gaining a clearer understanding of where the money from charities had gone. Strict controls were also needed to prevent illegal underground financing.
PIERRE HELG (Switzerland) said that he shared the evaluation that terrorism carried out by Al Qaeda and the Taliban would continue as one of the major threats to international peace and security. Suppressing terrorism would be a long-term struggle, one in which the United Nations would play a key role. He welcomed the dialogue conducted with Member States to identify problems arising in the implementation of Council resolutions, as well as ways to resolve them. He noted that members of the Monitoring Group had met with Swiss authorities in September 2003. Switzerland had briefed the 1267 Committee on its observations on the working methods of the Committee and had requested that its observations be distributed as an official document of the Council. He hoped that more transparent dialogue between the Monitoring Group and Member States would take place and guidelines would be set up for that.
Switzerland was actively cooperating with Member States in tracking down terrorists and the sources of terrorist financing, he noted. It had ratified all 12 international legal instruments to combat terrorism, and actively cooperated with the Counter-Terrorism Committee, and the 1267 Committee and the Monitoring Group. Also, it had submitted various reports in compliance with resolutions 1390 and 1455. He recalled his country’s conviction that it was necessary to combat terrorism without sacrificing respect for human rights and the rule of law. To ensure the credibility of sanctions, it was necessary to work towards improving of the listing and delisting machinery.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) commended Mr. Muñoz for the way in which he had dispensed his responsibilities as Chairman of the 1267 Committee. The Committee’s efforts were part and parcel of international efforts to combat terrorism. The Committee had done a great deal to improve its working methods. The Consolidated List had been easier to use and detailed consideration was given to the reports submitted by Member States. In spite of all that, the Committee still had a difficult job. He emphasized the need to rethink the analytic capacity of the Committee, as well as the need for the Committee and the Monitoring Group to have first-hand information. Also, the principles of impartiality and transparency should be upheld.
Therefore, he continued, it was necessary to have complete cooperation and assistance from Member States. In addition, he emphasized the importance of the reports submitted by Member States in assessing the persistent dangers. He also noted that the visits made by the Chairman had been extremely useful. He supported cooperation between the 1267 Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee within their respective mandates.
He added that Syria, on behalf of the Arab Group, had submitted last year a draft resolution on the destruction of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Among the aims of that text was to prevent the acquisition of such weapons by terrorists. That draft was still being considered in the Council, and he hoped that circumstances would allow for the Council to adopt it. He agreed that the serious threat inherent in the Taliban and Al Qaeda should be among the main concerns of the international community. He looked forward to the new text to be adopted soon on the sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
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