SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES NATIONS TO ‘SEIZE THIS MOMENT’, TRANSLATE COMMITMENTS INTO REALITY TO RID WORLD OF TERRORISM, AT LAUNCH OF ANTI-TERROR STRATEGY

19 September 2006
GA/10502

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES NATIONS TO ‘SEIZE THIS MOMENT’, TRANSLATE COMMITMENTS INTO REALITY TO RID WORLD OF TERRORISM, AT LAUNCH OF ANTI-TERROR STRATEGY

19 September 2006
General Assembly
GA/10502
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Launch of United Nations Global

Counter-Terrorism Strategy

PM Meeting

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES NATIONS TO ‘SEIZE this MOMENT’, TRANSLATE COMMITMENTS

INTO REALITY TO RID WORLD OF TERRORISM, AT LAUNCH OF ANTI-TERROR STRATEGY

The United Nations today launched its sweeping strategy to combat the growing global menace of international terrorism, with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging the ministerial-level gathering to “seize this moment”.

“If future generations are to live in a world free from terrorism and its inhumane tactics, Member States must embark without delay on the journey they have mapped out so carefully; they must start translating their commitments into reality at once”, he said, in a statement delivered on his behalf by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown at the special event.

Adopted on 8 September by all 192 Member States, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy united them behind a common strategic framework that set out concrete measures to address terrorism in all its aspects.  Described by the Secretary-General as a vision for a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent response, at the national, regional and international levels, the Strategy set out the Assembly’s plan for defeating terrorism around the world.  It stemmed from a fundamental conviction everybody shared:  terrorism in all its forms, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, was unacceptable and could never be justified.

The adoption of the text could be called a historic breakthrough in many ways, but whether it proved to be truly historic in the eyes of the world’s people would be known only “once we see what Member States actually implement”, the Secretary-General said.

Indeed, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain said that the launch of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy marked an important step forward in the fight against terrorism.  Its adoption had given the Assembly a unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to countering terrorism.  It also represented a common testament that the United Nations would face terrorism head on, condemning it in all its forms and manifestations.  Terrorism would continue to challenge the international community.  The Strategy, therefore, must, remain a “living document”, which could be updated to respond to a changing environment and technology.  The time had come for members to honour their words and translate the Strategy into action.

Following the launch, speakers –- many of them at the ministerial level –- unanimously welcomed the Strategy’s adoption, stressing the global nature of the terrorism threat, which the international community now had a real opportunity to meet with a truly global response.  It was pointed out that capacity-building was a core element of the Strategy, which also aimed at enhancing the coordination of the United Nations system as a whole, as well as with other actors in the counter-terrorism struggle.

The Foreign Minister of Finland, Erkki Tuomioja, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that, for the first time, the efforts of Member States, the United Nations system and other relevant actors in the field of counter-terrorism were highlighted in a single document.  She urged all Member States, if they had not already done so, to ratify or accede to all United Nations counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, which formed the solid legal basis of the counter-terrorism measures.  Several speakers also expressed the hope that the Assembly would use the impetus of the Strategy’s launch to adopt, without delay, the text of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

Several participants in the launch emphasized that all measures against terrorism must comply with international law.  They, thus, welcomed the fact that the new plan reaffirmed the need to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law.  In particular, the importance of the human rights aspect was emphasized by Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, the Foreign Minister of Spain and one of the co-chairs of the consultations on the text.  He stressed that the global response to terrorism should be based on respect for human rights and dialogue between cultures and civilizations.  The international community was obligated to act, not only in defence of liberties and values, but also in defence of the human rights of victims, he said.

George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, the other co-chair of the negotiations, stressed the need to counter the strategy of terrorists, who used race and religion to divide the international community and recruit new members.  “We will fall into their trap if we associate terrorism with particular religions, nationalities, civilizations and ethnic groups”, he said.  Instead, it was necessary to build on various initiatives to bring civilizations together and promote interfaith understanding, such as the Alliance of Civilizations and the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.

Noting that the Strategy committed States to addressing the conditions that might encourage the spread of terrorism, Kim Howells, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, highlighted the problem of incitement to terrorism, calling on all States to make incitement illegal and to take steps to prevent it.  In that connection, he said it was necessary to generate and support a united network of citizenry that would loudly reject the ideology of terrorists.  Also necessary was to better articulate an alternative vision to that of extremists.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, was among the speakers who welcomed the inclusion in the text of provisions for reviewing the Strategy.  Despite the fact that some important elements were missing from the Strategy, the Assembly should continue to update and develop it so as to keep the plan alive, while engaging all States and taking into account international changes, in order to guarantee its successful implementation.

Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Fawzi Salloukh, also supported the Strategy’s periodic review to make it responsive to emerging needs, but warned that it was not comprehensive and did not envelop some of the basic principles needed to make it successful.  Those principles included the definition of terrorism and the condemnation of State terrorism, which was manifested by wanton violence against civilians.  The principle of State responsibility stipulated that States should be held accountable for their acts, especially acts of a criminal nature, and not be above the law.

Also taking the floor this afternoon were the ministers from Australia, on behalf of Canada and New Zealand; Turkey; Philippines; and the Russian Federation.  Representatives of Switzerland, Japan, Yemen and Israel also spoke.

Background

Member States met this afternoon in the margins of the General Assembly’s high-level debate for the launch of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted by the Assembly on 8 September.  [For details, see Press Release GA/10488.]

Summary of Resolution

Reiterating the Assembly’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations –- “committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security” - the resolution adopted on 8 September (document A/60/L.62) builds on the mandate contained in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document for the Assembly to adopt a strategy to promote comprehensive, coordinated and consistent responses to terrorism, at the national, regional and international levels, while also taking into account the conditions conducive to its spread.

By the text, expressing appreciation for the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy, which he submitted in his report entitled “Uniting against Terrorism”, the Assembly encourages Member States, the United Nations and other appropriate international, regional and subregional organizations to support the implementation of the Strategy, including through mobilizing resources and expertise.  The resolution also contains a provision, in which the Assembly would examine in two years progress made in the implementation of the Strategy, and consider updating it to respond to changes.

By a four-part Plan of Action annexed to the text, Member States would resolve to take urgent action to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations by becoming parties to the existing anti-terrorism conventions and protocols, implementing relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and cooperating fully with counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies, recognizing that many States continue to require assistance in implementing those resolutions.  At the same time, the text also recognizes that anti-terrorism measures must comply with international law, including the United Nations Charter and relevant international conventions and protocols, in particular on human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.

Among other measures envisioned in the text is the possibility of creating an international centre to fight terrorism.  The United Nations, together with Member States, is invited to develop a comprehensive database on biological incidents, ensuring its complementarity to the biocrimes database contemplated by the International Criminal Police Organization.  Border controls would be stepped up to prevent terrorists from crossing State lines or smuggling arms, such as nuclear weapons.

The Plan also contains measures aimed at addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including, but not limited to, prolonged unresolved conflicts; dehumanization of victims of terrorism; lack of the rule of law and violations of human rights; ethnic, national and religious discrimination; political exclusion; socio-economic marginalization; and lack of good governance.  It also includes provisions to help to build States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism, to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in this regard, ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law, as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism.

General Assembly President Sheikha HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA of Bahrain said that today’s gathering marked an important step forward for the United Nations in the fight against the scourge of terrorism, which remained one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.  Terrorism knew no borders.  During the past decade, many innocent lives had been lost around the world.  The United Nations had, throughout that time, remained committed and had steadfastly mobilized its efforts to fight the scourge.  The Security Council had been an active player in that regard.

She said that adoption of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy had given the Assembly a unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to countering terrorism.  It had also reaffirmed the Assembly’s role in that regard.  The resolution’s adoption by 192 Member States represented a common testament that the United Nations would face terrorism head-on, and that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations must be condemned.  The Assembly had played a vital role in the past in formulating a number of important international legal instruments to counter terrorism, and she urged Member States to become parties to those instruments without delay.

The Counter-Terrorism Strategy would complement the Assembly’s legal framework by providing practical and action-oriented measures that could be taken over time, she said.  Four main areas had been addressed in the Plan of Action.  The Plan recognized that conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, while none of those conditions could justify committing terrorist acts.  The Plan also provided several concrete proposals for combating terrorism.  It also recognized “capacity-building” as the cornerstone in that fight, as well as the need to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law.

She said that terrorism would continue to challenge the international community, and it could come in different forms and methods of destruction.  The Strategy, therefore, must remain a “living document”, which could be updated to respond appropriately to a changing environment and technology.

“It is now time for all of us to honour our words.  We have to translate the Strategy into real action”, she said.  Today was only the first step of many to implement the Strategy.  More work was needed in the face of the constant threat of terrorist attacks.  Only when the world acted together would it be able to rid the scourge of terrorism and make the world a safer place.

GEORGE YEO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, said that the launch of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was an important milestone in the global fight against terrorism.  After long discussions, the Assembly now had a balanced document that all could accept.  Singapore was honoured to have co-chaired the process.  The Strategy was, of course, only one element in a much broader struggle against terrorism.  Discussions about the underlying causes of terrorism were often complex and controversial.  Without dialogue based on respect, however, there could be no understanding or compromise.  It was the strategy of terrorists to use race and religion to divide the international community and recruit new members, and that strategy must be countered.

“We will fall into their trap if we associate terrorism with particular religions, nationalities, civilizations and ethnic groups”, he said.  Instead, it was necessary to build on various initiatives to bring civilizations together and promote interfaith understanding, such as the Alliance of Civilizations and the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.

MIGUEL ÁNGEL MORATINOS CUYAUBÉ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, welcomed the adoption of the Strategy and said that, at this moment, the international community was united in unanimous support for the Strategy to eradicate the threat of terrorism.  He paid tribute to the victims of terrorism, including those in New York, Madrid, Beslan and London.  Through the adoption of the Strategy, the Assembly had determined that the fight against terrorism was a central priority of the United Nations.  It had also established mechanisms that would make the Organization more effective in fulfilling its role.  The creation of the task force against terrorism was an important step forward.

It was particularly important not only to unequivocally condemn all forms of terrorism, without conditions, but also to promote respect for human rights as an inviolable border in the fight against terrorism.  Human rights were not just the limit of international action against terrorism –- they also constituted its foundation.  The international community was obligated to act not only in defence of liberties and values, but also in defence of the human rights of victims.  Because of that, his Government would work to ensure that the deliberations on that theme in the General Assembly would result in the creation of a practical mechanism of solidarity and international assistance for terror victims.  It was important to fight terrorism in all its manifestations and to create effective mechanisms for assistance for victims of terrorism.

The Global response to terrorism should be based on respect for human rights and on dialogue between cultures and civilizations, he said.  He was satisfied that the Strategy took that aspect into consideration.  Spain had worked with partners in the Mediterranean to shape consensus on the Euro-Mediterranean Code of Conduct against Terrorism.  Madrid was also the place where his Government, in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, had hosted a ministerial round table involving representatives from 27 African countries to promote ratification and application of international conventions against terrorism.

In conclusion, he expressed hope that the adoption of the Strategy would become an impetus for the adoption of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  Spain would spare no efforts to combat terrorism on the national, regional and global levels, because it was aware that terror knew no borders and represented a threat to peace and progress throughout the world.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General MARK MALLOCH BROWN, on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the General Assembly had set out its vision for defeating terrorism around the world.  It was a vision for a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent response, at the national, regional and international levels.  It stemmed from a fundamental conviction everybody shared:  that terrorism in all its forms, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, was unacceptable and could never be justified.  And it united the international community behind a common strategic framework that set out concrete measures to address terrorism in all its aspects.

He said that the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by all 192 United Nations Member States could be called a historic breakthrough in many ways, but whether it proved to be truly historic in the eyes of the world’s people would be known only in the weeks, months, and years ahead, “once we see what Member States actually implement”.  If future generations were to live in a world free from terrorism and its inhumane tactics, Member States must embark without delay on the journey they had so carefully mapped out.  They must start translating their commitments into reality at once.

That meant combating financing for terrorists, preventing them from acquiring conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring that they were not granted asylum or given safe haven, he said.  It meant protecting vulnerable targets, promoting the needs of victims and ensuring that their voices were heard.  It meant addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, while underscoring that none of those conditions justified terrorism.  It also meant resolving the outstanding issues related to the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, so that that instrument could be adopted by all States and serve as an effective tool to further unite the world.  “And it means never, in any of our efforts, sacrificing our common responsibility to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law”, he stressed.

The Secretary-General also told Member States that, for his part, he was already working to implement those provisions in the Strategy that fell under his purview, his Deputy said.  He had asked the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to coordinate among its members, so as to improve coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations family.  He was also reaching out to biotechnology stakeholders to find ways of working together, to ensure that biotechnology advances were used, not for terrorist or other criminal purposes, but for the public good.  He was also working to strengthen partnerships with regional and subregional organizations in countering terrorism.

Even with the collective Strategy in place, many Member States would still seek to go their own way, but he said he hoped that they would consider that the international community now had a chance to harness real political will, built up over the past four months.  Member States now had the opportunity to prove that multilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism worked.  They had, at last, the means to meet the global terrorism threat with a truly global response.

ERKKI TUOMIOJA, Foreign Affairs Minister of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the continuing terrorist attacks around the world were a constant and painful reminder that terrorism remained one of the most serious threats to all States and peoples.  It posed a grave threat to security, the values of democratic societies and individual freedoms.  The Union reiterated its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; there was no cause or grievance that could justify it.  Terrorism was a global menace requiring a global response.  The United Nations played a key role in the common fight against terrorism.  It was imperative that the United Nations, including the General Assembly, continue to show its unity and resolve in combating terrorism.

Applauding the adoption of the first ever United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, she said that the Strategy’s adoption by consensus was a strong political signal to the world, demonstrating the Assembly’s resolve to overcome disagreements and unite behind the shared goal of combating terrorism.  The Assembly should keep the momentum and make every effort to reach an agreement on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

She said that the Strategy’s Action Plan provided clear guidance on practical and action-oriented measures to be taken by Member States.  For the first time, the efforts of Member States, the United Nations system and other relevant actors in the field of counter-terrorism were highlighted in a single document.  She urged all Member States, if they had not already done so, to ratify or accede to all 16 United Nations counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, which formed the solid legal basis of the counter-terrorism measures.  The Union commended the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and other Security Council bodies that dealt with counter-terrorism.

She added that it was imperative that all measures against terrorism comply with international law.  The Union was pleased that the Strategy included a section reaffirming a clear legal framework for anti-terrorist activities.  The Union also welcomed the Strategy’s reaffirmation that the promotion and protection of human rights for all and the rule of law were essential to all components of the Strategy.  Capacity-building was a core element of the Strategy, which also aimed at enhancing the coordination of the United Nations system as a whole, as well as other actors in the field of counter-terrorism.  In that regard, she welcomed the institutionalization of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

While the international community’s enhanced cooperation had brought successes in the fight against terrorism, and potential terrorist attacks had been thwarted, long-term sustainable success in curbing the scourge could only be achieved if the conditions that were conducive to the spread of terrorism were also addressed.  A key challenge in that regard would be to ensure that extremist ideologies did not prevail.  The Union would continue to strengthen dialogue and promote mutual understanding between cultures and civilizations.  It attached great importance in the Strategy’s inclusion to prohibit by law the incitement to commit terrorist acts.  The fight against terrorism was a priority for the Union, which stood ready to implement the Strategy in cooperation with the Member States, the United Nations system and other relevant actors.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that the Strategy reaffirmed, once again, the Assembly’s imperative role, in cooperation with all Member States, to counter terrorism.  Egypt had suffered, and was still suffering, from the dangers of terrorism.  It had always believed that the Strategy should be adopted by consensus.  Despite the fact that some important elements were missing, the Assembly should continue to update and develop the text.  He, therefore, welcomed the inclusion of provisions for reviewing the Strategy at the Assembly’s sixty-second session, as the start of a regular biennial review process that would, among other things, keep the Strategy alive and take into account international changes.

Continuing, he noted that, institutionally, the Strategy would provide the United Nations with an opportunity to step out of a narrow perspective when dealing with international terrorism towards a global unified perspective and to work on restoring the missing balance between the activities of the different United Nations bodies.  The Strategy also represented a new approach in dealing with terrorism, as it reflected the importance of dealing with conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  As the Strategy would enhance the legal framework against terrorism through international conventions, it was imperative that the international community adopt a more courageous approach to practical dimensions essential to the successful implementation of such a legal framework.  It was vital, therefore, to settle political disputes that instigated violence and terrorism, including foreign occupation and depriving peoples of the right to self-determination.

He said that the Strategy included clear confirmation of the obligation of States to refrain from participating or organizing terrorist acts, including the obligation not to practise State terrorism.  In addition to the rights of victims of terrorist attacks, the Strategy should also guarantee the rights of innocent victims against the use of force in the international counter-terrorism campaign, including the right to compensation for bodily injuries and material damages and their right to pursue an international legal process to receive compensation.  The launching of the Strategy should be followed by other important steps, mainly the adoption of a comprehensive international anti-terrorism convention.

ALBERTO GATMAITAN RUMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, noted that, when terrorists struck, they sought to drive deep divisions, destroy unity and spread misunderstanding.  The launch of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as the catalyst for united action, struck a serious blow against terrorism.  The Strategy contained many crucial elements in winning the war against terror and would complement national efforts.  The United Nations must remain at the forefront in the fight against international terrorism.  A spirit of genuine cooperation must steer those efforts and complement regional ones.  He applauded Member States’ effort in implementing the 13 universal instruments on the suppression of international terrorism, while reiterating the Secretary-General’s call for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention.  Establishing a broad legal framework was a worthy endeavour, which would provide the basis for various national, regional and subregional efforts, and provide the legislative backbone to national measures.

He said that civil society and religious leaders had a key role to play in the fight.  Hopefully, the launching last March of the Forum for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace would advance understanding between diverse peoples, thereby, fostering tolerance and friendship.  The Assembly had today drawn a line.  Together, members would ensure that the line held fast.

FAWZI SALLOUKH, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon, condemned terrorism in all its forms.  He viewed the Strategy as “less than optimal” because it represented the minimum necessary to gain consensus and did not address all of Lebanon’s concerns.  The Strategy’s achievements included recognizing the legitimate right of people to resist an occupying Power; the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; and the obligation of Member States to ensure the compliance with international law of any measures taken to combat terrorism.  A fourth achievement was letting the General Assembly, the United Nations body with the highest level of representation, take the lead in creating the ethical and legal standards for future actions.

While it succeeded on those fronts, the Strategy was not comprehensive and did not envelop some of the basic principles needed to make it successful, Mr. Salloukh said.  Those principles were the definition of terrorism, which would save the international community the burden of placing everyone “in the same basket”.  Another principle was the condemnation of State terrorism, which was manifested by wanton violence against civilians.  The principle of State responsibility stipulated that States should be held accountable for their acts, especially acts of a criminal nature, and not be above the law.  At the same time, he supported the periodic review of the Strategy to make it responsive to emerging needs.

ULRICH LEHNER ( Switzerland) said that, for the first time in its history, the United Nations had provided itself with a comprehensive action plan for combating terrorism on a worldwide scale.  The Strategy was balanced, resting firmly on the five pillars the Secretary-General had outlined in his report.  It recognized the need to address the potential causes of terrorism, namely lack of democracy and the fragility of the rule of law, human rights violations, unchecked regional conflicts, poverty and youth unemployment.  That would require the same determination as that needed to intensify international cooperation between police forces and improve cooperation in legal matters, extraditions and exchange of information.  Addressing terrorism’s causes also required prosecution of other criminal acts that may be linked to terrorism, such as illicit trafficking in weapons and drugs and money-laundering.  Finally, it underlined the fact that, far from contradicting each other, efforts to combat terrorism, promote respect for the rule of law and protect human rights were complementary and mutually reinforcing.

The Assembly would have its first opportunity to assess the progress in implementing the Strategy in two years, he continued.  It was of paramount importance that the international community respond to the threat of terrorism in a way that was even more coherent and that it work for the creation of the necessary international structures.   Switzerland would make use of all the means at its disposal to deprive terrorists of their financial and logistical resources.  It would also provide technical assistance to achieve the objectives of the Strategy.  His country would do its best to ensure that victims of terrorism were accorded the attention they deserved at the national and international levels.  It would also work to enhance the legitimacy of action to combat terrorism through greater respect for human rights and the rule of law, including, for example, by instituting transparent procedures for the inclusion of persons on the lists of those subjected to United Nations sanctions, and for their removal from such lists.

United Nations bodies also needed to coordinate their efforts, as well as strengthen their cooperation with regional organizations, to achieve greater flexibility and efficiency.  The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force would provide valuable assistance to implementation of the Strategy.  The adoption of the Strategy by consensus was proof of the Assembly’s will to contribute to international efforts to combat terrorism, as well as its ability to do so.  He hoped that the Assembly would seize that opportunity and, without delay, adopt the text of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, thus completing the work of the 16 sectoral conventions and protocols that already existed in that area.   Switzerland had ratified 12 of them, and the internal procedures needed for the ratification of the rest were under way.

RAFET AKGUNAY, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey, said the launch of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a landmark development that needed to be recognized by all.  As one of the countries long targeted by terrorism, Turkey had drawn important lessons upon which there now seemed to be worldwide consensus.  Terrorism was a crime against humanity, which could not be justified under any circumstances.  Indeed, the right to live was one of the most fundamental human rights and nothing could validate the killing of innocent people.  Terrorism was a constantly evolving phenomenon which exploited and benefited from globalization in every possible sense.  As such, the scope of terrorism today was much wider than in the past, including organized crime.  The technological advances in communication and transportation had also given terrorists new means to press on with their ill agenda.  The fight against terrorism should, therefore, be a comprehensive and multidimensional effort to take those developments into account.

No nation in the world could fight and succeed against terrorism alone, he said.  The fight against it should be waged on a global scale, with full and vigorous international cooperation, and the United Nations was the most appropriate forum to prepare the basis of such an effective global strategy.  Failing acting together, proceeding with double standards or discriminating among different forms of terrorism would only breed more terrorism.  That was why Turkey had taken an active part and had endorsed all the international instruments related to combating terrorism, and why it applauded the Strategy’s adoption.  Turkey continued to urge all Member States to exert all possible efforts for the adoption of an even more important agreement, namely the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which could serve as the central piece of the global fight against terrorism.

TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) said that, since the start of the deliberations in May, there had been discussions on difficult issues related to terrorism.  He appreciated the fact that, despite the differences, the Assembly had taken an action-oriented approach and succeeded in sending a strong message against terrorism to the international community.  It was important to remember, however, that the Strategy would have real value only if it was put into practice, and he called for its full implementation.

He said his country recognized the need to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and, in that connection, had been carrying out official development assistance (ODA) projects in such fields as sustainable development and eradication of poverty in developing States.  It was also convinced that maintaining individuals’ dignity and independence as members of the community was important in order to create an environment that was unfavourable to terrorism.  Japan, from the perspective of human security, had been working on those issues, together with United Nations organizations, for a long time.  Moreover, in April, his Government had established a new funding facility -– a grant for cooperation on counter-terrorism and security enhancement.   Japan was determined to continuously contribute to the implementation of effective counter-terrorism measures.

In conclusion, he emphasized the need to maintain the Strategy as a living document, by examining progress in its implementation in a timely manner, as prescribed in the resolution.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand (CANZ), said there was no greater contemporary threat to international peace and security than terrorism, including the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.  The threat of terrorism required a robust response from all States, which was why CANZ welcomed the Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  States resolved in the Strategy to consistently, unequivocally and strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes.  States also resolved to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.  While making clear that they could not excuse or justify terrorist acts, the Strategy listed some factors which might contribute to the spread of terrorism, including lack of the rule of law and a lack of good governance.  Those issues must be addressed.

The Strategy should, however, also identify extremist ideologies in the illustrative list of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, he said.  Terrorism often seized on such ideologies to attract support from those most affected by other societal weaknesses.  He welcomed the Strategy’s focus on the need for further action, both by States and by the United Nations system, to ensure that all States were able to suppress terrorism effectively.  While bilateral and regional programmes were important in building State capacity, much of today’s terrorism was global, and a global response was important.

At the global level, the United Nations had been effective in establishing counter-terrorism norms, he said.  All States should become parties to the existing 13 sectoral counter-terrorism conventions.  More was required, however.  He appealed to all States to conclude a comprehensive convention against international terrorism as a matter of urgency, ensuring that all terrorist acts were criminalized in international law.  States resolved in the Strategy to ensure respect for human rights as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism.  All States should respect their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.  The Strategy reflected many, but not all, of the Secretary-General’s proposals in his report entitled, “Uniting against Terrorism”.  CANZ continued to support those recommendations.

He said CANZ had appreciated the Council’s leadership of United Nations counter-terrorism efforts, particularly since the horrific attacks of 11 September 2001.  All States must continue to meet their obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.  He also welcomed, however, the Assembly’s contribution to the United Nations counter-terrorism agenda, of which the Strategy was the most recent example.  By adopting the Strategy, the Assembly had shown it could act decisively on contemporary international issues.

KIM HOWELLS, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that terrorism was a threat that affected all countries.  It was an attack on the United Nations’ most fundamental values:  the rule of law, the protection of civilians, and the principles of mutual respect between people of different faiths and cultures.  Thus, it was appropriate that the whole United Nations membership should come together to signal its condemnation of terrorism, and its common determination to confront that threat.  He was glad that the Strategy was directly based on the Secretary-General’s recommendations.  The United Nations was already playing an important role in the international counter-terrorism effort, and he supported the drive to mobilize the whole United Nations apparatus in that regard.  Setting the Secretary-General’s Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force on a permanent footing would be the first step.

Having agreed unanimously on what needed to be done, Member States now had a great deal of work before them, he continued.  The United Nations and its Members must act urgently to dissuade people from resorting to terrorism, to prevent terrorists from carrying out their attacks and to condemn them when they did.  It was also necessary to improve the capability of States to protect their citizens.  The Strategy recognized explicitly that the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law must form a fundamental basis of the struggle against terrorism.

The Strategy committed States to addressing the conditions that might encourage the spread of terrorism, he said.  It highlighted the problem of incitement to terrorism as an area where further action was needed.  While it was important to uphold the right to free speech, he called on all States to make incitement illegal and to take steps to prevent it, as set out in Security Council resolution 1624 (2005).  Last week’s report of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on the implementation of that resolution showed that considerable work had been done on that issue, but that was just the beginning.  Countries needed to reflect on their experiences so far of tackling incitement, and to work together to determine the best practices.  The United Nations could help those States that needed assistance in developing their legislation, and perhaps provide a way “to help us all to develop a partnership with civil society in support of our ongoing efforts”.  It was necessary to generate and support a united network of citizenry that would loudly reject the ideology of terrorists.  It was necessary to better articulate an alternative vision to that of extremists.

Turning to a range of ways in which Member States should unite to deprive terrorists of the means and opportunities to carry out attacks -– also set in the Strategy –- he said that the call to the Counter-Terrorism Committee and its Executive Directorate to help States implement the terrorist travel-related obligations was particularly important.  The United Kingdom continually reviewed its transport security measures in the light of its evolving understanding of the methods of attack that terrorists were seeking to use.  Experience showed that it was the issue all States must address.  Redoubling the efforts to tackle incitement and raising global standards of aviation security were just two of the many important measures that all had agreed to take through the Strategy.  Uniting to condemn terrorism was extremely important, but it was just the first step.  Everybody needed to work together to ensure that the Plan of Action was implemented in full.  Nothing less would be sufficient.

ALEXANDER V. YAKOVENKO, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the Russian Federation said that the Strategy represented a major achievement for the Assembly and the fulfilment of one of the key mandates of the 2005 World Summit.  The Strategy’s adoption at a time when the world remembered the 11 September 2001 and Beslan attacks had been profoundly symbolic.  He expressed his appreciation for the goodwill and political wisdom that had led to the text’s adoption.

He said it was gratifying to note that many of the Russian Federation’s initiatives had found a place in the Strategy, including incitement to commit terrorist acts.  The document had also included civil society’s involvement in the fight against terrorism.  The enhancement of national strategies to counter terrorism was no less important.  The Strategy would strengthen the United Nations’ central role in fighting the evil of terrorism.

AHMED HASSAN MOHAMED ( Yemen) said that the Strategy’s adoption had been the product of long and arduous talks among Member States.  While it did not meet all of the wishes of all of the parties, the Strategy was the first step in the right direction.  Yemen had long been a victim of terrorism and had been affected by all of its implications.  His delegation had participated in the formal and informal discussions that had laid the groundwork for the Strategy’s adoption.

The Strategy did not include the concept of State terrorism, however, which was no less ferocious, he said.  Also not included was the inalienable right to self-determination, the right to development and the need not to slander religions and holy texts, as well as the need not to link terrorism to any religion or faith.  The provision for a review of the Strategy in two years would provide the parties with an opportunity to address what they felt had not been considered.  Nations would have to work in concert, in order to implement the Global Strategy.

DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) said that the launching of the Global Strategy, particularly during the week when the world leadership was assembled in New York, sent a clear message that combating terrorism was a global problem requiring a global solution.  Only with a united front could the international community stand against terrorism.  The Strategy and its launch today underscored the international community’s universal recognition of the fact that terrorism, by whomever, whenever, and wherever it was committed, was entirely unacceptable.  As the Secretary-General had pointed out in his report containing recommendations on the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, terrorists must never be allowed to create a pretext for their actions.  Whatever the causes they claimed to be advancing, whatever grievances they claimed to be responding to, terrorism could not be justified.

Regrettably, Mr. Carmon said, a number of practical proposals, which appeared in the Secretary-General’s report and were discussed in early deliberations, and some of which could have made a significant contribution, had been omitted from the Strategy launched today.  He hoped they could be incorporated and implemented in the future.

People in Israel were no strangers to terror, he continued.  Indeed, the past months had seen relentless terrorist attacks by Hizbollah terrorists in the north and Hamas terrorists in the south by actors with unholy ambitions to wreak havoc in the streets of Israel, and murder as many people as possible -- all with the support and approval of the global sponsors of terror, Syria and Iran.  Sadly, the effects of terrorism were being felt by a growing number of States.  Terrorism knew no boundaries and attacked indiscriminately, directly threatening everybody.  The spread of terrorism had led to a recognition that all acts of terror must be condemned, regardless of the motivation or cause.  There was no such thing as good or bad terror.  “Terror is terror is terror”, he said.

More than ever, the world today was divided between extremists and moderates -– extremists who chose terror and moderates who chose peace; extremists who used hate to fuel their wars, and moderates who used dialogue to advance understanding.  In that divide, the extremists incited each other to violence with words of vitriol and hate.  Worse, they incited the next generations, through textbooks, educational programmes and television.  Incitement was no less dangerous that terrorism itself, and he joined the representative of the United Kingdom in that regard.  Terrorism was the greatest challenge facing humanity in the twenty-first century, but it could be combated.  It would only be combated, however, when the international community started to confront it.  If excuses were no longer made for terrorists and their acts of villainous terror, the international community could stand together, united, able to put a stop to terrorism, once and for all.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.